Lions only have three players left from Matt Millen era

Tom Pennington

The Detroit Lions are down to their final three players from the Matt Millen era.

It's a bit hard to believe, but we are approaching the five-year anniversary of Matt Millen being fired by the Detroit Lions. As of Sept. 24, 2013, it will have been five years since the Lions canned Millen and brought one of the worst tenures in the history of professional sports to a close.

On the one hand, five years isn't all that long. In fact, just five years ago, Millen was getting ready to take part in what turned out to be his final draft as general manager of the Lions. Then again, as a fan it feels like it's been a lifetime since Millen ran the Lions. His tenure is squarely in the past, and a lot has changed since he was sent packing. Proof of this comes in this stat from Mike O'Hara:

Yes, the Lions are down to only three players from the Millen era. Roster turnover is quite common in the NFL considering a lot of players last only a few years in the league, but it's pretty remarkable that the Lions only have three guys left who were around for the 0-16 season in 2008. That speaks to just how quickly the Lions have completely overhauled their roster, and it also speaks to just how little talent was on the team when Martin Mayhew and Jim Schwartz took over the operation.

Currently, the Lions have 66 players under contract or under their control (i.e. restricted/exclusive-rights free agents). Below is a look at when and how the Lions acquired those 66 players, showing exactly how the current roster came together. (Note: Many players signed from the practice squad or via futures deals originally joined and were released by the team at an earlier date. However, for the sake being consistent, the date listed is when they most recently joined the active roster.)

Position

Player

Year

Acquired

QB

Matthew Stafford

2009

Draft

Shaun Hill

2010

Trade

Kellen Moore

2012

UDFA

RB

Reggie Bush

2013

Free agency

Mikel Leshoure

2011

Draft

Jahvid Best

2010

Draft

Joique Bell

2011

Practice squad (Saints)

Devin Moore

2013

Futures

FB

Shaun Chapas

2012

Practice squad

WR

Calvin Johnson

2007

Draft

Nate Burleson

2010

Free agency

Ryan Broyles

2012

Draft

Mike Thomas

2012

Trade

Kris Durham

2012

Practice squad

Devin Thomas

2013

Free agency

Troy Burrell

2013

Futures

Patrick Edwards

2013

Futures

Dominique Curry

2013

Futures

Lance Long

2013

Futures

Terrence Austin

2013

Futures

Chastin West

2013

Futures

TE

Brandon Pettigrew

2009

Draft

Tony Scheffler

2010

Trade

Nathan Overbay

2013

Futures

OT

Riley Reiff

2012

Draft

Corey Hilliard

2009

Practice squad (Browns)

Jason Fox

2010

Draft

OG

Rob Sims

2010

Trade

Bill Nagy

2012

Waivers

Rodney Austin

2013

Futures

Dylan Gandy

2009

Free agency

C

Dominic Raiola

2001

Draft

DE

Jason Jones

2013

Free agency

Willie Young

2010

Draft

Ronnell Lewis

2012

Draft

DT

Ndamukong Suh

2010

Draft

Nick Fairley

2011

Draft

C.J. Mosley

2013

Free agency

Ogemdi Nwagbuo

2012

Free agency

Jimmy Saddler-McQueen

2012

Practice squad

LB

Stephen Tulloch

2011

Free agency

DeAndre Levy

2009

Draft

Ashlee Palmer

2010

Waivers

Tahir Whitehead

2012

Draft

Travis Lewis

2012

Draft

Carmen Messina

2013

Futures

CB

Chris Houston

2010

Trade

Jonte Green

2012

Draft

Bill Bentley

2012

Draft

Ron Bartell

2012

Free agency

Chris Greenwood

2012

Draft

Ross Weaver

2013

Futures

Conroy Black

2013

Futures

Lionel Smith

2013

Futures

D.J. Johnson

2013

Free agency

S

Glover Quin

2013

Free agency

Louis Delmas

2009

Draft

Don Carey

2012

Free agency

John Wendling

2010

Free agency

Amari Spievey

2010

Draft

Ricardo Silva

2012

Practice squad

Tyrell Johnson

2012

Free agency

K

David Akers

2013

Free agency

Havard Rugland

2013

Free agency

P

Blake Clingan

2013

Free agency

LS

Don Muhlbach

2004

Free agency

The three remaining players from before 2009, as noted, are Calvin Johnson, Dominic Raiola and Don Muhlbach. Johnson and Muhlbach both made the Pro Bowl last season, and neither should be going anywhere in the immediate future. Johnson is under contract through 2019, and you would think Muhlbach will be around for at least a few more years. Raiola, on the other hand, is likely entering his final season with the Lions.

Since the end of the Millen era, the Lions have continued to have their fair share of struggles, but at least they made the playoffs in 2011. Whether or not they will be able to sustain success like that in the future remains to be seen, but given how much the roster has changed, it's clear we are in a new era of Lions football.

(Note: Although he reportedly agreed to a deal back in March, wide receiver Kassim Osgood is not currently under contract with the Lions.)

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