Lions’ Dan Campbell warns ‘hyenas’ to be careful in forceful speech to 18,000 fans: ‘We are starving’


DETROIT — Detroit Lions head coach Dan Campbell is warning all hyenas: get out of the way. His team is dying to taste success.

Campbell set the tone with this message as Detroit practice in front of an estimated 18,000 fans at Saturday’s family celebration at Ford Field – it’s a team record for the annual event since they hosted 20,000 people in 2015.

The second-year coach gave an impassioned speech before his team began training. He did the same last year and seems more than comfortable kicking things off at these events. And although it started with the blue-collar talk, we’re more than used to hearing around those parts. Campbell gave it his unique touch that was clearly tied to those present.

“But I think what makes Detroit special is the fact that, man, you’re going to roll up your sleeves and put in a hard day’s work. I think we want to model ourselves after all of you,” Campbell said. “I’ll tell you, if you’re cold in the winter, you’d give your coat to someone in the winter who needs it, man. That’s what this community is all about. However, however, however. No one will take advantage of our hospitality. Nobody. So that’s what it’s all about. That’s what we’re talking about.

“This team is working on their backs to give you something to be proud of. All right, we’re grinding it right now. I know that. We are starving. We are hungry. So the hyenas better get away.

And there, that set the tone. The traffic and parking situation entering Ford Field was bumper-to-bumper ahead of practice, so those in the building were already hungry to see the 2022 team.

New Lions wide receiver DJ Chark got another one awesome day. Chark got a diving reception near the end zone that made the fans happy. Starting quarterback Jared Goff also continues to look sharp throughout camp. MLive’s Kyle Meinke had Goff 13 of 17 for 171 yards and four touchdowns during scrimmage. Chark caught two, while receivers Josh Reynolds and Amon -Ra St. Brown each scored a run.

But the energy wasn’t just about the action on the pitch. The team DJ – DJ Ray – pumped up the music from start to finish. Lions running back Jamaal Williams picked up where he left off in 2021, dancing to his own personal theme song, “Jamaal That.” He was also there throwing soccer balls into the crowd before the rest of the team came out of the tunnel. Williams even had a cardboard box full of items to give away to fans who brought him anime items after Saturday’s session.

“It feels good. I mean listen I would say this though, even last year we definitely didn’t get the wins we wanted, but man, the last three home games we’ve had, there was a good vibe,” Campbell said. “We could feel it as players and coaches. I would say they picked up where they left off, you know? It’s not easy to do. Sitting there at the end of the year, we got no wins. Then we get one win. You got two, so that’s, listen, that’s a credit to our fans. They’ve got hope, so it’s up to us to give them something.

It was the first glimpse of Ford Field for Lions rookie defenseman James Houston and Chark, among others. Saturday was Chark’s first foray onto a playground since last September while still with the Jacksonville Jaguars. Jackson State’s sixth-round rookie Houston called the unique experience of getting a taste of the NFL environment with fans at home.

More than a handful of Lions players stayed on the field for a long time after practice. they signed autographs and selfies with those shouting for attention, not to mention tossing and tossing signed items and towels into the stands. Prized rookie and former Michigan standout Aidan Hutchinson got quite the roar in the tunnel. He was followed on that track by right tackle Penei Sewell playfully mocking his jogging and wave technique to the fans. Hutchinson later reappeared to sign yet more articles while hearing his name shouted in nearly every direction.

Jack Fox didn’t just sign articles and toss them out to fans. The Pro Bowl bettor would sign a mini football, then toss it into the crowd. Austin Seibert, one of the team’s placekickers, also joined in on the action.

“I love it. The vibe was great,” Houston said. “The fans showed up. They were lively. They were attentive. It was great. It seemed like they really understood what was going on too. And the field is beautiful, man. You look up, and you see all the old Hall of Famers and things like that. It’s a blessing to be a part of it.”

Aidan Hutchinson signs autographs for fans after the Detroit Lions practice in front of 18,000 spectators at Ford Field.

Ford Field

Detroit Lions players and coaches linger, sign autographs and take photos with fans after their practice in front of 18,000 people at Ford Field.


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