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Detroit Lions

Calvin Johnson has already etched his name into Lions history several times over. But the franchise will give him one additional earned honor during the coming season.

Detroit announced on Monday that Johnson will be inducted into the Pride of the Lions during halftime of the team’s Sept. 30 Monday night matchup with the Seahawks. The club describes Pride of the Lions as a permanent display at Ford Field that honors the greatest players in franchise history.

“We are thrilled to add Calvin Johnson Jr. to the Pride of the Lions,” Lions President and CEO Rod Wood said in a statement. “His commitment on the field and to the city of Detroit are legendary and this is a well-deserved honor. We are proud that he will be forever memorialized inside Ford Field and as a Detroit Lion.”

The No. 7 overall pick of the 2007 draft, Johnson played 135 games for the Lions over nine seasons before retiring after the 2015 season. He is Detroit’s all-time leader in receptions (731), receiving yards (11,619), and receiving touchdowns (83).

He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame on his first ballot in 2021.

Why are cities trying so hard to persuade the NFL to bring the draft to town? Because it’s a boom to the local economy.

Visit Detroit and the Detroit Sports Commission said today that the 2024 NFL Draft generated a $213.6 million economic impact for the region, of which about three-fourths, $161.3 million, came from visitors who traveled from outside Southeast Michigan to spend money at Detroit hotels, restaurants and other businesses.

An estimated 775,000 people attended draft-related festivities, spending an average of $275 per person. Visitors came from all 50 states and 20 different countries.

After decades as a relatively small event, the league turned the draft into a popular TV show and then moved it out of New York City and turned it into a major event that cities across the country vie to host in hopes of bringing in significant tourism revenue. The 2025 NFL draft will be in Green Bay and the 2026 NFL draft will be in Pittsburgh. Washington, D.C., appears to be a frontrunner for the 2027 NFL draft.

Lions wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown had 119 catches for 1,515 yards in 2023 and he put up those big numbers despite some injury issues.

St. Brown is one of the players involved in the Receiver series on Netflix and he recounts a couple of injuries that he had to deal with early in the campaign. St. Brown hurt his toe during the team’s Week Two loss to the Seahawks, but was well enough to play against the Falcons the next week. He had nine catches for 102 yards in a Detroit win, but picked up an oblique injury to go with his toe problem.

“I’ve had a hip pointer before, so I thought it was a hip pointer,” St. Brown said. “Maybe it’s just a little bruise. And I’m like, ‘Damn, my toe’s still hurting at this point. Now I have this oblique injury.’”

The Lions played the Packers on a Thursday night in Week Five and St. Brown, who said he was at an eight or nine on 1-10 scale of pain, was on the field again.

“It’s too late for me not to play. The game plan’s in,” St. Brown said. “Painkillers is something that I really don’t like to take unless it’s the Packers.”

St. Brown caught a touchdown — and got doused with a beer by a Packers fan — in the 34-20 Lions win and then got an MRI. He said doctors told him “you tore your oblique completely off the bone,” which led to St. Brown missing Week Six. He returned with 25 catches in his next two games and didn’t miss any more time, which is the kind of durability and grit that helped him earn a sizable contract extension this offseason.

Lions tight end Sam LaPorta and quarterback Jared Goff displayed clear chemistry in 2023, with LaPorta setting a record for receptions by a rookie tight end.

With Goff signing a four-year contract extension earlier this offseason, the two are now set to play together for the next several seasons.

In an interview with Jim Rome this week, LaPorta complimented Goff’s steadiness day in and day out.

“I say this about Jared frequently, but he’s the same person every day,” LaPorta said. “You’re not going to find someone more consistent than Jared Goff in our building. And for him to be leading the team, you need to have consistency. You’re going to have good and bad days in the NFL — it’s just the nature of the game and how competitive this league is. But, he shows up every day, he works, and he sets the example and he sets the tone in the building.

“To be able to follow him and the example he sets for this organization, it just trickles on down from there — really amazing. And I’m so happy for him and his extension and his security here in Detroit for another couple of years.”

With Goff as his quarterback, LaPorta caught 86 passes for 889 yards with 10 touchdowns in his first season out of Iowa — finishing No. 3 in AP offensive rookie of the year voting. Goff completed 67.3 percent of his throws for 4,575 yards with 30 touchdowns and 12 interceptions in 2023.

Safety Kerby Joseph started 18 games for the Lions last season, but he wasn’t at 100 percent for most of them.

Joseph hurt his hip in Week Two and missed two games before returning for the rest of the Lions’ run to the NFC Championship Game. Joseph went for surgery after the loss to the 49ers in that game and said on NFL Network Tuesday that his rehab progressed well over the course of the offseason.

“Oh, for sure. That hip ain’t nothing,” Joseph said. “Last year, I played through the injury. It was there, but I feel 10 times better now, so I just can’t wait to get out there with the guys.”

Joseph referenced head coach Dan Campbell while saying that the Lions can’t slow down after their success last season. He believes they need to “put the little things together and come together as a whole team” in order to make it to the Super Bowl and having a healthy Joseph should help in that regard.

The eight-game suspension imposed Monday on Steelers cornerback Cameron Sutton wipes out eight of his eighteen game checks. With a base salary of $1.21 million, that translates to $537,777 in lost wages for 2024.

The cost to Sutton was much more than that.

Immediately after the Lions became aware that he was wanted on (at the time) felony charges, they voided his guaranteed salary for 2024 and released him. That was $10.5 million, gone for good.

If the Lions hadn’t cut Sutton, he would have lost $4.667 million in salary. The Lions also would have been able to recover a portion of his $10.9 million signing bonus from 2023.

The Lions, however, didn’t hesitate to move on from Sutton. The Steelers ultimately had no qualms about bringing him back. The fact, however, that the NFL ultimately suspended Sutton for nearly half of the season underscores that, in the league’s opinion, Sutton deserved to miss eight games without pay for his misconduct.

The NFL announced on Monday that Steelers cornerback Cameron Sutton has been suspended without pay for the first eight games of the 2024 season.

The league noted in its announcement that Sutton violated the NFL’s personal conduct policy in March.

Sutton, 29, was released by the Lions that month — a day after the club learned a warrant was issued for his arrest in Florida for one count of domestic battery by strangulation.

The Steelers, who selected Sutton in the third round of the 2017 draft, re-signed the cornerback in early June.

Sutton spent his first six seasons with Pittsburgh before playing with Detroit last year.

In 101 career games, Sutton has recorded 44 passes defensed with nine interceptions.

Sutton will be eligible to be reinstated on Oct. 29 after the Steelers play the Giants in Week 8.

The Lions hope to take the next step after losing in the NFC Championship Game last season and part of the plan to do that involved changes to the cornerback group.

Cameron Sutton and Jerry Jacobs played the most snaps at corner last season, but both players are gone from this year’s roster. The Lions traded for Carlton Davis and signed Amik Robertson as a free agent before drafting Terrion Arnold and Ennis Rakestraw in the first and second rounds in April. They also have Emmanuel Moseley, who is coming off a torn ACL that limited him to two snaps last season, back along with Kindle Vildor, Khalil Dorsey and nickel back Brian Branch.

Davis and Arnold were the top two outside corners in the spring, but General Manager Brad Holmes promises a spirited competition for snaps is coming this summer.

“Yeah, it’s a bloodbath in there now. It is, and that’s what makes everything better,” Holmes said, via the team’s website. “It makes the room better, it makes the defense better, it makes the team better. Competition just brings the best out of everybody.”

The names at the top of the depth chart may not change before the start of the season, but the Lions defense will be better if Holmes is right about the impact that fighting for jobs will have on all involved.

For much of their franchise’s history, the Lions have been laughingstocks. Now they’re viewed as one of the best teams in the NFL. And Lions defensive end Aidan Hutchinson says that’s the correct way to view them.

Hutchinson, who grew up in the Detroit area and played his college football at Michigan, says it’s a new experience to be part of a Lions team with high expectations.

“It’s unreal. There’s a lot of hype coming into this year, but I think it’s well-deserved hype,” Hutchinson told ESPN. “I think a lot more guys on our team understand what this year is, and we understand what we got and we’re all ready.”

Two years after the Lions took him with the No. 2 overall pick in the draft, Hutchinson says he’s committed to being the kind of player who continues to play at a high level.

“I feel like the biggest thing is consistency. So, I feel like it’s consistency with working out, with diet, with nutrition, with everything,” Hutchinson said. “I feel like that just continues to stack up every year, along with your knowledge of the game. As those things are rising, you just continue to level up as a player, so all around.”

Hutchinson may be part of a group of players who make the Lions consistent winners, proving that they deserve the hype.

After last year’s successful debut of Quarterback on Netflix, the producers couldn’t find enough quarterbacks for season two. So they moved to a new position.

And in compiling the roster for Receiver, a highly popular pass-catching tight end had a chance to join the fray.

Appearing on the Bussin’ with the Boys podcast, Travis Kelce said he declined the invitation to be one of the subjects of the show.

“After [Patrick Mahomes] did it, I did get asked about it,” Kelce said, via USA Today. “I’d rather just play ball, man; I’m already doing enough with the podcast and everything. I’m way over the reality shit, dude. I’m out on that shit.”

The subjects of Receiver are Justin Jefferson of the Vikings, Davante Adams of the Raiders, Amon-Ra St. Brown of the Lions, and Deebo Samuel and George Kittle of the 49ers. If Kelce had done it, there’s a good chance (given everything that happened last year), that he would have become Bruce Springsteen and the rest of the bunch would have been the E Street Band. Or maybe it would have been all about Kelce and only Kelce.

The show debuts, without Travis Kelce, on July 12.