Just before halftime of Sunday’s Lions-Ravens game, Lions return man Aaron Brown picked up a Ravens kickoff that was bouncing toward the pylon at the 1-yard line. He got tackled at the 4-yard line for a three-yard return, costing the Lions either 16 yards or 36 yards, depending on whether the ball would have crossed the goal line or the sideline first.
Lions coach Jim Schwartz wasn’t pleased. In fact, he was so displeased that he wouldn’t even allow a Detroit News reporter to finish asking him about it during his press conference Monday.
“The bone-headed play at the end of the first half?” Schwartz asked when the reporter started to bring up Brown’s return.
Yes, coach, the bone-headed play. What did you think of it?
“There are a lot of different things you can do in that situation, of which we have covered every one of his options right there,” Schwartz said. “One option is to establish yourself out of bounds and then touch the ball. In that case the ball is out of bounds and we get the ball on the 40-yard line. The other thing would be to let it play, and if it went out of bounds then obviously it goes out of bounds. If it goes in the end zone, then take a knee and we get the ball on the 20, and at least we have a chance.”
Brown is a rookie running back who has shown flashes of talent this season, but Schwartz pulled him from the game after that, and he said it’s possible Brown has lost his job as the Lions’ kick returner.
“I don’t want to say it’s his last chance, but sometimes another chance doesn’t come — let’s put it that way,” Schwartz said. “You know, you can’t count on another chance coming. When Wally Pipp called in sick, Lou Gehrig took over.”
It’s doubtful the Lions have a backup kick returner who’s going to prove himself worthy of any comparisons to Lou Gehrig, the former Columbia University football player who also dabbled in a little baseball. But point taken: If you’re a pro athlete, you don’t want your coach comparing you to Wally Pipp. Or calling you a bonehead.