Quandre Diggs and Darius Slay are two of the Detroit Lions’ best draft picks in recent memory. Slay, drafted in the second round of the 2013 NFL Draft, has now been named to four Pro Bowls, was named to one All-Pro team, and has provided top-10 level cornerback play for the past five years. Diggs was a late-round gem found by former Lions general manager Martin Mayhew. A sixth-round pick, Diggs worked his way up and eventually became a starter and a leader in the Lions’ secondary. Both Slay and Diggs earned lucrative extensions in Detroit, sealing their legacy as Detroit-born talent and fan favorites.
That is until everything went sour in a single year. After not getting along with then head coach Matt Patricia for a year-and-a-half, both Slay and Diggs were traded away five months apart from each other. Detroit only netted a fifth-round pick in return for Diggs and a seventh-round pick. The Lions got a third and fifth-round pick for Slay.
This year, both Slay and Diggs were deservedly sent to the Pro Bowl for outstanding 2021 campaigns with their new teams. And while Diggs could not play in the game due to a serious injury suffered in the Seattle Seahawks’ season finale, it was a chance for Slay and Diggs to reunite on the field for the first time since their playing days in Detroit.
Slay had some awesome cleats to commemorate the moment.
The first cleat depicts both players in the Lions’ silver color rush jerseys with the caption “How it started.” The other cleat shows them both now in their respective team’s jersey, still clapping hands, with the caption “How it’s going.”
For Lions fans, it’s yet another bitter-sweet moment to take in. While it’s awesome to see two fan favorites reunite and pay tribute to their time in Detroit, it’s yet another reminder of the failures from the previous regime. The Lions had two supreme talents the coaching staff couldn’t handle, so instead of finding a way to make it work, they cut bait and got little in return. The Lions’ secondary and defense have struggled mightily since. With Matthew Stafford a game away from lifting the Lombardi in his first season away from Detroit, watching so many players succeed the minute they leave this franchise is a tough pill to swallow.
That being said, it’s hard not to be a little happy for these players, who put in so much work here and had to deal with a decade’s worth of losing. Diggs and Slay are just two examples of players who gave back to the community and provided the Lions with stellar play on the field. They deserve moments like this. Let’s just hope that for the Lions’ current set of talented players, these kinds of moments happen in Detroit going forward.