We all know that former Detroit Lions head coach Matt Patricia wasn’t the most well-liked guy in the locker room, especially during his first year in Detroit. There were plenty of rumors that he had publicly ostracized players, implemented ridiculous guidelines on locker room conduct and practicing habits that rubbed the team the wrong way, and had quite literally run a few of the Lions’ players out of town.
Within minutes of Patricia being let go of his duties with the Lions, several former Lions players took to social media to express either their elation at the organization’s decision to move on, or to finally publicly reveal their own frustrations with Patricia during their time in Detroit.
First, there’s former Lions linebacker Stephen Tulloch, who never played under Patricia, but likely has some leftover frustration at Bob Quinn and company for firing Jim Caldwell.
Perhaps the most vocal critic immediately after the firing was someone we hadn’t heard much from during his time in Detroit: defensive tackle A’Shawn Robinson. He clearly had a strained relationship with Patricia during their overlapping time from 2018-19.
You get what you deserve https://t.co/uh2yMBEzlZ— AshawnRobinson (@AshawnRobinson) November 28, 2020
Haha told me you’ll take my career away from me but I guess they have other plans for you— AshawnRobinson (@AshawnRobinson) November 28, 2020
Then, of course, there’s cornerback Darius Slay. The now Eagles cornerback has already gone public with a story about how felt disrespected by Patricia during a team meeting, and their relationship never recovered. Unsurprisingly, he had something to say Saturday afternoon.
There were a couple of Lions players who had short-lived careers in Detroit that obviously felt something about Patricia’s firings, including defensive tackle Toby Johnson (played in Detroit from 2017-18) and defensive end Elijah Lee (2020).
Only if ppl knew the half.... https://t.co/9EH8Snj4of— Toby Johnson (@Future020113SEC) November 28, 2020
— Elijah Lee (@elee_doubleace) November 28, 2020
Or how about Eagles receiver Travis Fulgham, who has suddenly seen his career reborn in Philadelphia after not even scratching the surface in Detroit:
— TF13 (@TravisFulgham) November 28, 2020
And finally, there’s Seahawks defensive end Ezekiel Ansah. Though he just played a single season under Patricia, he voiced a somewhat cryptic message after the firing went down:
Welp ♂️— Ezekiel Ansah (@Ziggy_Ansah) November 28, 2020
This feels like a tip-of-the-iceberg situation. There were obviously a lot of well-documented discontent in that locker room during Patricia’s first year or two. The real question is whether any of those issues bled over into 2020. On the surface, it looked like the locker room culture was much better in Patricia’s final season, but you never truly know what’s going on behind those closed doors.
UPDATE: Here’s our first sign of a current player disgruntled from the Patricia era. Kenny Golladay, who remains unsigned to an extension, liked this post from the NFL’s official Instagram (he’s kgxix)