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Notes: Ford Field staffer shares awesome Alim McNeill story

All these little things add up to show what kind of a culture the Lions have created these past few years.

Las Vegas Raiders vs Detroit Lions Photo by Jorge Lemus/NurPhoto via Getty Images

An athlete signing autographs may not seem like much, but what Alim McNeill did for some Detroit Lions fans is one chapter of a much bigger story.

On Monday morning, an X user who says he’s a Ford Field employee working near the player’s tunnel sent a message to the defensive lineman.

“I work at Ford Field at the players tunnel and I saw @AlimMcneill take about 15-20 mins to sign so many autographs for fans and kids. This was amazing to watch. THANK YOU for doing that. Your 15 mins of time will leave a lifetime of memories for those fans,” the tweet says.

Like I said, it may not seem like much, but it’s evidence of something I’ve noticed develop over the past few years. McNeill, probably tired and busy, could have signed a few and moved on, but 20 minutes later he was still at it. This Ford Field employee saw enough joy in these fans and kids that he felt compelled to get online and tell McNeill—hey, I saw that. To me, this is yet another example of the Brand New Lions culture.

There’s something to the phrase “you are the company you keep.” For years now, it’s clear Dan Campbell has led with integrity, compassion for his players, and a true love of football. This has caused a ripple effect over the past few seasons that has led to locker room that values the city, the fans, and each other over all else.

It’s evidenced by how they play, how they work together, and often how they speak about each other. Just a few days before the Minnesota game, a reporter mentioned that McNeill and fellow defensive lineman Aidan Hutchinson were neck-and-neck for the highest number of sacks in the season.

“I didn’t even know that’s where it was, but Aidan, I expect him to run away with it honestly. He’s about to turn it up a little bit more. That’ll be really fun to see what he’s about to do honestly cause he’s about to get heated up,” McNeill said.

He ended up being right—Hutch got another two sacks against the Vikings, making it five in two games. But that’s not the point. I have listened to a million media sessions over the years, and this team is just built different. I truly believe they care about each other and want to see each other succeed individually and as a team. McNeill could have replied something generic to move on to the next question, but instead hyped up his teammate.

These are the type of players Dan Campbell and the new Lions regime choose and develop. This is the culture they’ve created.

I could list dozens more. These moments pop up every single week. There was one Frank Ragnow and David Montgomery moment that almost made me cry. While I am Charmin soft, this team is strong and in my opinion, has shown they genuinely care about the city, the fans, and one another. That is a winning culture.

And onto the rest of your notes.

  • Just as I explain how the Lions are under strong leadership, ESPN’s Eric Woodyard offers some stories you may not have heard from Campbell’s playing days.

  • The Detroit News’ Justin Rogers has some insight into the officiating crew for Sunday’s game, which we now realize matters a lot. :-)

  • GQ returns to the Motor City for the game. Hopefully as many former Lions as possible are there.
  • Some love from Big Sean.

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After winning their first NFC North title in 30 years, the Lions have unfinished business this offseason. Stay updated with Jeremy Reisman through Pride of Detroit Direct, our newsletter offering up exclusive analysis. Sign up with NFCNORTH30 to get 30% off after your free trial.