The saga of Robert Ayers was one of the most peculiar in recent Detroit Lions history. Back in 2018, the Detroit Lions signed the pass rusher to a one-year deal just a week before the season was to begin. Given Detroit’s desperate need for someone who could pressure the quarterback, this move was met with a considerable amount of excitement, as he was a PFF darling and had some serious output in his long NFL career.
However, that excitement was short lived. Ayers arrived on a Monday, had a short practice with the team, then was nowhere to be found on Tuesday. It was revealed shortly thereafter that Ayers had been released with no explanation from either side.
After the season, Lions general manager Bob Quinn answered questions about the move, but did not provide any insight.
“I’m not going to get into the specifics of why he wasn’t here or why he didn’t make it here,” Quinn said. “Different personnel decisions are different for each player, so I’m not really going to get into that one.”
But now, two years later, Ayers has broken his silence, and at least given a small detail as to what happened.
“Let’s just say me and the head coach (Matt Patricia) didn’t agree,” Ayers told the Knoxville News Sentinel. “There were some things he wanted me to do that I didn’t feel comfortable with. We just weren’t on the same page and it didn’t work out.”
Ayers refused to go into specifics about what Lions head coach Matt Patricia wanted him to do in Detroit, but he did go out of his way to compliment Patricia and the Lions organization.
“He’s a tremendous coach, a brilliant mind,” Ayers said. “There’s a lot of things that was great about the Detroit Lions organization, but it was just something that we didn’t agree on.”
The Detroit Free Press’ Dave Birkett added a little bit of his own sourcing, saying that the release was “due to philosophical differences with the head coach.” This also falls in line with unconfirmed rumors I’ve heard about the situation.
Will the full truth of the situation ever come out? It’s hard to imagine given how tight-lipped the organization is and how small of a footnote it was for both the Lions and Ayers. Detroit has moved on, while Ayers is kicking off his post-NFL career as a high school defensive line coach for Knoxville Catholic.