It's finally here. No, not the preseason...or the NFL Draft...or even minicamp. No, the Detroit Lions players will be gathering in Allen Park Monday to, instead, begin their offseason workouts for the first time as the 2016 team.
Things will look a little different for this year's team. New general manager Bob Quinn upgraded the team's weight room and brought a fancy new dietitian with him. The team, while at its core will remain the same, has sprinkled the edges of the roster with fresh new faces and hungry new players. Gone, but not forgotten, are the old faces of Calvin Johnson, Joique Bell and James Ihedigbo. Former strangers Marvin Jones, Stefan Charles and Stevan Ridley will take their place, hoping to acclimate to their new home and build a new family.
But these workouts are not mandatory, so we won't likely see everyone there. Stephen Tulloch, still technically under contract, is not expected to be in Allen Park this week. Meanwhile, Glover Quin is recovering from ankle surgery and may not be able to participate. This workout also gives fans the opportunity to see where injured players like Travis Swanson (shoulder), DeAndre Levy (hip), Brandon Pettigrew (knee) and Tyrunn Walker (leg) stand regarding their recovery.
While offseason workouts won't provide any real football coverage for fans, it is a sign that we're steadily moving closer to football season. We're bound to hear predictable stories about players looking "more determined than ever" or "hoping to prove their maturity" along the way, but that's just a necessary evil on the course back to football. We'll be there again before you know it.
Hey, at least the players are excited about it:
Pumped to get going tomorrow! Feels like the first day of school. New facility, new teammates etc… Still exciting. @Lions— Geoff Schwartz (@geoffschwartz) April 18, 2016
Touchdown in Detriot excited about tomorrow!— rafael bush (@rbush36) April 18, 2016