Sunday will mark the first time Darius Slay plays against the team that drafted him. After the 2019 season, the Detroit Lions and Slay divorced in a messy fashion. Slay had lost all respect for head coach Matt Patricia and more-or-less forced the Lions to trade him to the Philadelphia Eagles, ending the veteran’s prestigious seven-year career in Detroit.
But as he returns to the Motor City for a Week 8 bout between the Lions and Eagles, Slay has only good things to say about his former team. With Patricia now gone, the Eagles corner is not viewing this game as a chance at revenge, but rather a trip home.
“That’s my second home,” Slay told the Philly media on Wednesday. “I’ve been there seven years. I appreciate (former Lions GM) Martin Mayhew taking a chance on me, drafting me. The Lions organization for taking a chance on me. Got a lot of family there, built a lot of good relationships. So it’s a home visit for me, and like I said, I appreciate the fans for sure, because I’m real big in the community over there. So it’s going to be a good feeling to be back in Detroit.”
After a down year in 2020, Slay is back to playing some of the best ball in his career. His two-interception game against the Carolina Panthers is a big reason they won that game. And through seven weeks of the season, Slay’s 78.0 PFF grade ranks him sixth among all NFL cornerbacks. Of course, Slay will be the first to tell you all of that.
“You look at my film, I’ve been doing everything a corner needs to do,” Slay said. “I’ve been in a defense where man (coverage) was every play with no help doing what I had to do, locking up guys. Been in zone defense and man defense, getting all the picks. So I did everything that a corner needs to do and I’ve been doing (it) at a high level for a long time.”
Despite all of his confidence, he knows the Lions can be a dangerous team right now. They may be winless, but the Lions have taken several good teams to the very edge of defeat, and with the bye week coming up, Slay knows the Lions are going to be hungry on Sunday.
“I know they’re 0-and-whatever they is, but don’t go in there like they some pushovers, because they’re playing great ball,” Slay said. “They’ve been playing great teams, fighting to the end since Day 1. So we can’t go in there thinking they’re just some pushovers, we’ve got to go ahead and take it and get this W.”