The Detroit Lions had their first night practice on Wednesday: A special practice for select police officers, firefighters and EMTs to attend. The practice was an extremely generous gesture to the servicemen and women of the Metro Detroit area. Here’s a recap of the night:
Before the Lions even took the field, Matthew Stafford and his wife Kelly made the night even more special.
Matthew Stafford's wife, Kelly, and Rod Wood passing out free preseason tickets to first responders pic.twitter.com/IPleHfYkkQ— Kyle Meinke (@kmeinke) August 3, 2016
Matthew Stafford and Kelly approached Lions with the idea to donate tix to first responders. Pretty cool.— Kyle Meinke (@kmeinke) August 3, 2016
It’s one thing for the Staffords to go out and hand out tickets, but the fact that it was their idea and they approached the team with the proposal shows the kind of quality leadership that Matthew Stafford has and many overlook. It was a just a year ago when Stafford donated $1 million to help construct a football field for a local rec center.
After the fans began to shuffle in, Jim Caldwell and Rod Wood briefly met with the media. Caldwell gave a quick update on DeAndre Levy. “He’s progressing.” Okay, moving on.
Caldwell also notified media that Saturday’s practice at Ford Field will be their game simulation practice:
Caldwell says Lions will have a mock game during Saturday's practice.— Kyle Meinke (@kmeinke) August 3, 2016
Wood then took the stage and mostly clarified the Stafford gesture:
#Lions Rod Wood said Matthew and Kelly Stafford approached him about providing preseason tickets to fans tonight — police, 1st responders.— Paula Pasche (@paulapasche) August 3, 2016
Before things got underway, the special teamers got a visit from former Lions kicker Jason Hanson:
Before long, the Lions’ fifth training camp practice was underway.
Not only was Don Carey back at practice after being removed from the Non-Football Injury list earlier in the day, but Theo Riddick emerged after sitting out the previous two sessions:
Theo Riddick, no longer broken. pic.twitter.com/jTKguMfvbH— Justin Rogers (@Justin_Rogers) August 4, 2016
After practice, Riddick indicated he will be playing in the Lions’ preseason opener.
Individual drills continued with the wide receivers:
... and the defensive linemen:
Unfortunately once team shifted to team drills, reporters stopped giving live updates. This has been the practice of the media all training camp, indicating the Lions are not allowing photos, videos or any specific live updates during team drills.
The Lions did have a minor scare with Eric Ebron after colliding with Rafael Bush. Ebron was a little shaken up, but appears to have quickly returned to practice:
Ebron just asked for his helmet back. Looks ok.— Kyle Meinke (@kmeinke) August 4, 2016
Darius Slay was at practice with a small change to his jersey:
Darius Slay's jersey now reads "Slay Jr." Don't remember seeing that before pic.twitter.com/Ha1nXnq8V3— Kyle Meinke (@kmeinke) August 4, 2016
After practice, the Lions spent time talking to the first responders in the crowd. Here you can see Slay signing an autograph for a fan (via the official Detroit Lions Snapchat account “det-lions”):
We’ll have a more detailed breakdown of player performances and team analysis on Thursday.