Detroit Lions veteran guard Oday Aboushi has had an interesting offseason. In addition to his normal offseason challenge of fasting during Ramadan, he also lives in New York City, one of the places in the country hit hardest by the Coronavirus pandemic.
Aboushi joined NFL Network show “Good Morning Football” on Wednesday and explained how he was touched by Lions head coach Matt Patricia reached out to him to make sure he and his family were doing okay amidst the crisis.
“He’s reached out to me when everything first happened, knowing I’m in New York City,” Aboushi said. “He reached out to me just to check on me, see how I was doing, if I needed anything, if my family was okay.”
The generosity, Aboushi says, is just emblematic of the kind of person Patricia is. As someone who has been around the NFL for a long time and played under several different head coaches, Aboushi believes that family attitude of Patricia is unique.
“The biggest different, right of the bat, with coach Patricia is you can tell he cares,” Aboushi said. “And he cares more than football, he cares more than the statistics. He cares about you as a player, as a man, as a family. He really tries—him being a New York guy—he’s big on family. Family is everything, and he treats football and his players the same way.”
Not everyone has felt the same way about Patricia over the course of his two years in Detroit. Several former players have come forward about Patricia’s abrasive style in addressing the team. Glover Quin called him “arrogant.” Darius Slay said he was “disrespectful” and didn’t have any respect for him as a person.
Yet there’s also a contingent of players that have praised Patricia both as a coach and as a person. Duron Harmon, whom the Lions trade for this offseason, was reportedly ecstatic when he found out he was reuniting with his former defensive coordinator.
“I’ve never seen a player more excited to be traded—and we’ve done a lot of trades since I’ve been here—than Duron Harmon,” Lions general manager Bob Quinn said back in April. “I mean, he was like literally jumping out of my FaceTime wanting to come out here immediately.”
And it appears Aboushi falls under that latter camp. In fact, despite playing under coaches like Pete Carroll. Rex Ryan, and Bill O’Brien, he’s never seen someone reach out to a player like Patricia did this offseason.
“I’ve never really had that happen with a head coach, whether I’ve been injured, whether I’ve been in a situation wherever,” Aboushi said. “To come check in on me like that personally, when I haven’t even reached out to him just kind of proves the kind of coach he is and how much he really cares about his players.”