Long-time Detroit Lions' offensive lineman T.J. Lang opts to retire


 ALLEN PARK (CCN) —  Three weeks after he was released by the Detroit Lions, T.J. Lang went to social media Friday to announce he is retiring from football.

Lang posted a statement as follows: "For the past 3,624 days I have woken up with one goal in mind — How can I be a better pro football player than I was yesterday?" Lang wrote "Well, those days are now over. The only thing I ask myself today is how can I be a better husband, father, son, brother, friend. I will forever cherish the great times that I had playing this game.

"Thank you Green Bay Packers for taking a chance on a 21 year old kid and giving me the opportunity and patience to grow into a man and reach my full potential as a football player. Thank you Detroit Lions for granting me a chance to finish my career in the place that I call home.  It would've been impossible to play this game for 10 years without great teammates, coaches trainers, strength staff, doctors, agents, fans, family and friends. I thank each and every one of you and the unwavering support over the years. Whatever the next chapter holds, I hope to stay around the game in some capacity. It's been an amazing ride. Thank you all for being a part of it." 


Lang is a Royal Oak native who graduated from Birmingham Brother Rice High School. He was a two-way star there as a lineman after starting his prep career at Lakeland High School in White Lake. Lang was a four-year star at Eastern Michigan where he played as a defensive end as a freshman before switching to the offensive line as a sophomore.

 Lang was a 4th round draft choice in 2009 by the Green Bay Packers and went to two Super Bowls with the Packers during eight seasons there, winning a Super Bowl ring in 2011. He joined the Lions as a free agent after the 2016 season when signing a three-year deal  that was one of the richest ever for an offensive lineman at $19 million.  Lang received an $8 million signing bonus to go with base salaries of $3 million in 2017 and $8 million in 2018. He would have made $8.25 million in 2019 if the Lions kept him. 

Lang had a season-ending neck injury last season and suffered two concussions while playing with the Lions. He had four more concussions with the Packers.

Logan Thomas added to tight end group for Detroit Lions


  ALLEN PARK (CCN) — The Detroit Lions added another tight end via a free agent signing on Thursday. They signed Logan Thomas to a deal that was not revealed by the Lions when announcing the addition to their roster. He joins tight end Jesse James who was signed on Wednesday as a free agent from the Steelers.

While James put up strong numbers with 9 touchdown catches in four seasons as a starter in Pittsburgh, Thomas has bounced around the NFL. He played last season for the Buffalo Bills after playing previously for the Arizona Cardinals who drafted him in the 4th round of the 2014 NFL draft. Thomas started his career as a quarterback with the Detroit Lions in 2016, but switched to tight end after leaving the Lions.

 Thomas has only 144 receiving yards in the NFL with just one touchdown catch. He was a star quarterback in college at Virginia Tech.

Besides playing for the Bills, Cardinals and Lions, Thomas has had stints as well with the Miami Dolphins and New York Giants.

Thomas gives the Lions depth at tight end but also provides a trick play option because of his ability to throw the ball.  He passed for 3,013 yards and 19 TD's when taking over as a starter as a sophomore in 2011 at Virginia Tech. He also rushed for 469 yards, including five TD runs during his break-out season as a star during his sophomore year. He was 220-of-449 passing for 2,976 yards and 18 TD's as a junior when rushing for 528 yards and 9 TD's and then passed for 2,907 yards with 16 TD strikes as a senior at Virginia Tech.

Detroit Lions sign Pittsburgh Steelers tight end star Jesses James to 4-year deal worth $28.5 million


  ALLEN PARK (CCN) — The Detroit Lions added another free agent to the fold on Wednesday. They signed tight end Jesse James to a four-year contract worth $28.5 million. James has spent the past four season with the Pittsburgh Steelers where he caught 9 TD passes.

He lost playing time to Vance McDonald a year ago but still managed his career best in receiving yards with 423 on 30 catches for 14.1 yards per reception.

James  played college football at Penn State and was a 5th round draft choice by the Steelers in 2015 after his junior season with the Nittany Lions.

The Steelers signed James to a four-year, $2.48 million rookie contract in 2015 with $218,912 guaranteed. 

The Lions have already signed four other free agents since the signing period began last week.

They signed  defensive end Trey Flowers,  cornerback Justin Coleman  and wide receiver Danny Amendola who all played previously under Lions' Coach Matt Patricia while he was on the New England Patriots' coaching staff under Bill Belichick.

ESPN reports Detroit Lions to sign two-time Super Bowl champion Trey Flowers as new defensive end star


ALLEN PARK (CCN) — ESPN has reported that a source confirms the Detroit Lions will sign another former New England Patriots star on Wednesday. The report said defensive end Trey Flowers will re-unite with Lions' Head Coach Matt Patricia who was the defensive coordinator during the former Arkansas Razorbacks' star's first three years with the Patriots. He was part of a Super Bowl championship team this past season for the second time in three years as a fourth-year pro.

ESPN reported that Flowers will sign an $80 million deal for five years. Many consider him the best possible pass rusher available during this free agency season.

Flowers, who can't officially sign with the Lions until 4 pm on Wednesday, had at least 45 tackles in each of the last three seasons. He had 7.5 sacks a year ago during New England's run to the Super Bowl title. He's also considered as one of the NFL's best run defenders in addition to his pass rusher abilities. 

Flowers became Detroit's top target since veteran defensive end Ziggy Ansah will be an unrestricted free agent on Wednesday if the Lions don't sign him.

Bleacher Report says Detroit Lions poised to make Justin Coleman highest-paid nickel back in NFL history


  ALLEN PARK (CCN) — The Detroit Lions are prepared to make cornerback Justin Coleman the highest paid nickel back in NFL history, according to a story Monday afternoon by Bleacher Report. Coleman played two seasons for Lions' Head Coach Matt Patricia with the New England Patriots — making it to the Super Bowl both years and winning it once. Coleman spent the last two seasons with the Seattle Seahawks.

NFL.com reported that Coleman is prepared to sign a four-year deal with the Lions worth $36 million. He can't sign until 4 pm on Wednesday.

The Seattle Times reported that the Seahawks added Akeem King last week because it was "expected Coleman would receive a significant raise by signing elsewhere." He had 72 solo tackles, 19 pass deflections and three interceptions during two seasons in Seattle after getting 25 solo tackles and 8 pass deflections during his two years in New England when sharing time with the likes of Malcolm Butler, Logan Ryan and Eric Rowe. The Lions have not made any comments but did cut secondary performer Nevin Lawson on Monday.  Lawson was due $5 million in 2019, so the move frees up salary cap space to sign free agents.

Lawson was a fourth round draft choice for the Lions in 2014 from Utah State University. He started 45 games in five seasons with the Lions. He started 14 games last season when making 43 tackles with one sack.

Detroit Lions sign 10-year veteran wide receiver Danny Amendola who played in 3 Super Bowls with Patriots


ALLEN PARK (CCN) — The Detroit Lions announced Monday morning that they have signed free agent wide receiver Danny Amendola. He's a 10-year NFL veteran who had 59 catches for 575 yards last season with the Miami Dolphins. Amendola previously spent five seasons with the New England Patriots after playing his first three seasons with the St. Louis Rams. He didn't dress for a single game during his first year in the NFL after making the practice squad as an un-drafted free agent with the Dallas Cowboys.

His career totals include 485 receptions for 4,685 yards and 20 touchdowns. He has caught 57 passes for 709 yards and six more touchdowns in 13 playoff games. 

Amendola made it to the Super Bowl three times with the New England Patriots where Lions' Head Coach Matt Patricia served 14 years on the coaching staff.

10-year veteran NFL offensive lineman and two-time Pro Bowler T.J. Lang released by Detroit Lions


 ALLEN PARK (CCN) — The Detroit Lions stunned many with an announcement Friday morning that they have released former Pro Bowl guard T.J. Lang.  The 10-year veteran offensive lineman signed a three-year contract when coming to the Lions in 2017 and made it to the Pro Bowl for the second time during his first season in Detroit. He then played only six games last season.

A clause in their contract allows the Lions to release Lang and make room under the salary cap to sign other players. Lang's deal was one of the richest ever for an offensive lineman at $19 million.  Lang received an $8 million signing bonus to go with base salaries of $3 million in 2017 and $8 million in 2018. He would have made $8.25 million in 2019 if the Lions kept him.

Lang was a fourth round draft pick (109th overall) by the Green Bay Packers in 2009. He signed a four-year contract in 2012 worth $20.8 million with a $5.5 million signing bonus and was part of a Super Bowl championship team during his time in Green Bay.

Lang is a Royal Oak native who graduated from Birmingham Brother Rice High School. He was a two-way star there as a lineman after starting his prep career at Lakeland High School in White Lake. Lang was a four-year star at Eastern Michigan where he played as a defensive end as a freshman before switching to the offensive line as a sophomore.

Lions' Executive Vice President and General Manager Bob Quinn released a joint statement with Head Coach Matt Paricia to the media about Lang as follows: “We would like to personally thank T.J. Lang for his two seasons with the Lions. He represented everything you could want from a football player and team captain. We all publicly saw him perform on the field at a very high level, but what was seen in the building every day was a player who had great leadership, professionalism and passion for the game of football. It meant a lot for T.J. to play in his home city and we have the utmost respect for him as a man. We wish T.J. and his family all the best in the future.”

Miami Dolphins fire former MSU offensive coaching guru Adam Gase after second straight losing season


Former MSU Assistant Adam Gase

Fired by Miami Dolphins


CCN Executive Editor

MIAMI (CCN) —  An offensive coaching guru with ties to Ypsilanti and East Lansing has been fired by the Miami Dolphins. Ypsilanti native Adam Gase was fired Monday after the team finished his third season as head coach with a 7-9 record when losing 42-17 Sunday at Buffalo to the Bills. 

Miami was 6-10 under Gase last season after a 10-6 record in his rookie campaign when losing to the Pittsburgh Steelers in the Wild Card round of the NFL playoffs. His 23-25 record as a head coach followed tremendous success as an offensive coordinator for the Denver Broncos. He was also on the staff of the Detroit Lions from 2003 until 2007 under the regimes of Steve Mariucci and Rob Marinelli after getting his coaching career start as an assistant at MSU. He left the Spartans with Nick Saban when he went to LSU in 2000.

Gase also worked as an assistant in the NFL for both the San Francisco 49ers and Chicago Bears before going to Denver under John Fox and Gary Kubiak .

Gase, who played at MSU and earned a degree there, has already been mentioned as a potential answer to solving the offensive woes for the Michigan Wolverines and as a top target of NFL teams looking for a new offensive coordinator, including the Detroit Lions.

“I want to thank Adam for his hard work and dedication to the Miami Dolphins,” said Miami owner Stephen Ross who is a fellow Michigan native and UM graduate who has been a leading donor to the university in Ann Arbor. “This decision was not easy as he gave everything he had to the organization," Ross added at a press conference. "I wish him and his family the best going forward.”

Gase got himself on the radar as an innovative offensive guru after Payton Manning credited Gase with helping him to a record-setting 2013 season when passing for a record 55 touchdowns (breaking Tom Brady's 2007 record of 50) while throwing for 5,477 yards to break the 2011 record of Drew Brees by a single yard. Manning also broke one Dan Marino record and tied others — his 9 4-TD games destroyed Marino's record of 6 in 1984, his 15 two-TD games tied Marino's 1984 record and his four 400-yard passing games tied another 1984 Marino mark. Kubiac retained Gase as Denver's offensive coordinator when taking over the Broncos in 2015 when they went on to win the 2016 Super Bowl.

The Dolphins became the eighth NFL team in the market for a new head coach. The others include the Broncos, Green Bay Packers, Cleveland Browns, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Arizona Cardinals, Cincinnati Benglas and New York Jets. Six teams fired their coaches before 10 am  on Monday (see story below on your mobile device or at left on your laptop or PC). The Packers and Browns fired their coaches before the end of the regular season.

'Black Monday' for 6 NFL coaches fired before 10 am; Lions' pair with 'Patriots Pedigree' safe?


It was "Black Monday" for six more NFL head coaches who lost their jobs one day after the end of the 2018 season. It brings the total to eight who have been fired for not getting their teams among the NFL's elite 12 preparing to play post-season football this winter.

Count the Detroit Lions in the un-elite group for the second straight season. After back-to-back 9-7 records cost Jim Caldwell his job last year, new man Matt Patricia is now on the hot seat. So, too, is General Manager Bob Quinn.

Many are calling for both to be fired. People even showed up at Ford Field with paper bags over their heads last week in Detroit when the Lions lost in a horrible effort against the Minnesota Vikings.

Caldwell was canned despite making the playoffs twice. His first team was 11-5 before a 7-9 season preceded the back-to-back 9-7 campaigns. Quinn tried to convince fans that Caldwell was fired for not winning a Super Bowl. Quinn quipped that it was a move to "get the Lions to the next level."

The former Patriots exec brought in former long-time Patriots assistant Patricia in hopes he could work some magic here.

The problem, however, is that the only magic act now is that the Lions have disappeared from the conversation when sizing up Super Bowl title contenders. You get no shot if you're not even in the playoffs.

Caldwell is a guy who twice experienced Super Bowls elsewhere. Regressing from a 9-7 record to 6-10 makes Yours Truly look pretty smart for saying it was a mistake to fire Caldwell. I said he won with less talent than teams behind the Lions in the standings.

Bob Quinn promised fans the move was to improve the Lions when Caldwell was let go.

When asked on Sunday by a TV reporter if she was pleased with the team's progress under Matt Patricia, owner Martha Ford's reply was a three-word vote of confidence. "Yes I am."

Um, 6-10 is okay with you Martha? 

If you really think so, you are out of touch with the people sitting below your luxury box at Ford Field.

Not since 1957 have the Lions won the NFL championship. Super Bowl games have too many roman numerals for me to count, and we've never won one yet. They created this match-up of NFC champions against AFC champions way back in 1967, and the Lions have never been at the party. Heck, they've only won one playoff football game in my lifetime, and I'm getting to be a pretty old guy.

Some suggest dumping both Patricia and Quinn, but Martha's vote of confidence proves that's not gonna happen. Some suggest trading away Matthew Stafford, possibly trading up in the June draft to obtain Ohio State phenom Duane Haskins as their next quarterback. You don't win it all with a rookie in the NFL and the only other logical choice to go after (if they could move Stafford and his huge contract) would be to sign Eagles'  Super Bowl hero Nick Foles when he becomes a free agent after the season. Bad as he is, I think Stafford is a better option than an aging Foles who had a far superior supporting cast in Philadelphia a year ago when taking them to the Super Bowl after starter Carson Wentz went down with an injury.

One thing is for sure. My decree on day one after Patricia was announced to all the "Patriots Pedigree" crap stands firm. Getting some "Patriots Pedigree" would have been signing up Tom Brady as quarterback and Bill Belichick as head coach. Quinn has been quiet all season and Patricia hasn't done himself any favors with his odd leadership style.

Patricia made his team practice outside in the bitter cold before a big game that was indoors. His game clock management at times has been questionable, yet he has taken no blame for mistakes when quizzed about it by media members.