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Ex-Lion rips team, city, coaches in new book

wayne-fontes Getty Images

Vernon Turner, who played running back for the Lions, Bills, Rams and Bucs in the 1990s, is out with an autobiography that contains some harsh words about his time in Detroit.

According to the Detroit Free Press, Turner writes in The Next Level: A Game I Had To Play that his coach in Detroit messed up his career.

“I personally think Coach Wayne Fontes had a huge hand in screwing with my career, and he really did a number on me,” Turner wrote. “He made my stay in the organization a miserable experience. . . . He never made me feel welcomed . . . he would walk by me like I was a piece of cheap-ass furniture.”

Turner also writes that he hated living in Detroit.

“I wasn’t too keen on the city of Detroit in general,” Turner wrote. “It felt kind of dreary. Hell, it seemed damn near depressing for me.”

And although Turner respected the best player on the Lions in the 1990s, Barry Sanders, he learned not to leave food around when Barry was on the premises.

“Believe it or not, Barry was a greedy little dude,” Turner writes. “I couldn’t leave food in my locker for a second without Barry eating it.”

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33 Responses to “Ex-Lion rips team, city, coaches in new book”
  1. airraid77 says: Jul 15, 2011 8:34 AM

    sour grapes anybody? sounds like your post M.D.S.

  2. jpb12 says: Jul 15, 2011 8:34 AM

    Who is Vernon Turner?

  3. jw731 says: Jul 15, 2011 8:34 AM

    Who the hell is Vernon Turner and why the hell would be write an autobiography? Must have been a huge advance for the rights to this best seller…….

  4. deedub22 says: Jul 15, 2011 8:39 AM

    Backup KRs write autobiographies now? Whats next? Locker room attendants? I can see the headlines now…”Throwing in the Towel” or “Airing out the Dirty Laundry”

  5. klunge says: Jul 15, 2011 8:49 AM

    Looks like Wayne Fontes also screwed your writing career. Who’s gonna buy a book from this nobody?
    Be thankful to Barry. Because of him you never got to prove how much you sucked, now you can spend the rest of your life moaning about what could’ve been if only you were given the chance or on another team. It’s cool man, everyone secretly loves to be pitied!

  6. boltfaninfalconcountry says: Jul 15, 2011 8:51 AM

    I’m quite sure this book will NOT be on the New York Times Best Sellers List. But the city of Detroit does suck.

  7. bigbwoy000 says: Jul 15, 2011 9:04 AM

    WTF cares what Vernon Turner thinks? He played for 4 different teams & Wayne Fonts killed his career? He was on a team with Barry Sanders, how much does this guy think he was going to play??

    He was a bit player on a lousy team, Fonts didn’t have more to worry about than Vernon Turners feelings?

    If he thinks Fonts was rough, he should have been a bit player on a Parcells team. Guys are too funny.

  8. brock29609 says: Jul 15, 2011 9:05 AM

    He was first man to return a punt for a TD for the Bucs. Amazingly, it took until the 90s for that to happen (93? 94?). I can’t beleive he played for the pre-Dungy pre-Glazier Bucs and it’s the Lions organization he’s complaining about.

  9. thephantomstranger says: Jul 15, 2011 9:24 AM

    It would be a much bigger story if the headline were “Ex-Lion lauds team, city, coaches.”

  10. yahmule says: Jul 15, 2011 9:32 AM

    It’s also just an odd criticism. Fontes biggest weakness was that he was too much of a player’s coach.

  11. m2karateman says: Jul 15, 2011 9:37 AM

    “. . . he would walk by me like I was a piece of cheap-ass furniture.”

    That’s because compared to Barry Sanders, that’s EXACTLY what you were. If you were so damn good, how come you never caught on and shined with another team? Cause you sucked.

  12. jw731 says: Jul 15, 2011 9:39 AM

    Out of curosity i checked out his stats. He played for the Lions for one year by the way…These are career stats…
    13 rushes…..71 yards
    9 receptions….90 yards
    2 career TD’s…
    8.6 punt return average…
    19.6 kickoff return average…
    10 fumbles…
    It has become obvious he was inflicted with an acute case of Freddy Mitchell itis….Or perhaps was the first know case……………

  13. schmitty2 says: Jul 15, 2011 9:41 AM

    I swear they will let anyone right a book nowadays. Maybe I will start writing one this weekend about being a football fan during this crappy lockout. I’m sure it will sell more copies than this loser will

  14. rtandler says: Jul 15, 2011 9:45 AM

    There needs to be a rule. You can’t write a book about your “career” unless anyone outside of your immediate family has heard of you.

  15. minnesconsin says: Jul 15, 2011 9:46 AM

    way to alienate the ONLY the market in which you had a chance of selling that book, vernon.

  16. stellarperformance says: Jul 15, 2011 9:51 AM

    I get tired of people taking easy potshots at places like Detroit (re: LeBron/Cleveland.) I found Detroit to be a great place, albeit with problems unique to itself, but what place doesn’t have issues of some sort? Getting out is the easy part. Make it better…..improve your environment with your own actions or shut the hell up.

  17. winemeup1971 says: Jul 15, 2011 9:52 AM

    He hated Detroit so much that he actually returned in 1995 to play for them.
    Can’t make money playing football? Try to make some trashing your employers.

  18. hatesycophants says: Jul 15, 2011 9:59 AM

    Huh?

  19. rebuiltsince2010 says: Jul 15, 2011 9:59 AM

    Okay listen guys i’m 33 years old and like most of you I was born a die hard Lions fan, but I have absolutely NO IDEA who the hell this guy is???? can somebody help me figure this one out?? LOL

    In other news, how did he expect his career in Detroit to turn out when your playing behind the greatest running back in history??

  20. bearsblow says: Jul 15, 2011 10:04 AM

    2 points this guy makes are correct.

    1- The Lions are a crap organization.

    2- Detroit is a crap town.

  21. vadog says: Jul 15, 2011 10:05 AM

    I’ve never heard of Vernon Turner until this story. I don’t care if I ever hear of him again!

  22. Nevis says: Jul 15, 2011 10:10 AM

    Love the Barry quote…as for the living in Detroit…isn’t that common knowledge?

  23. nyirish75 says: Jul 15, 2011 10:31 AM

    Cheap Ass Furniture? His intelligence is stellar. He would’ve been unhappy anywhere he played.

  24. innerlign says: Jul 15, 2011 10:31 AM

    “schmitty2 says:
    Jul 15, 2011 9:41 AM
    I swear they will let anyone right a book nowadays.”

    I swear they will let anyone WRITE in a blog comment section these days. Even the ones who can’t spell write.

  25. marvsleezy says: Jul 15, 2011 10:50 AM

    When he was in Buffalo wasnt he a wide receiver not a running back?

  26. cmutimmah says: Jul 15, 2011 10:56 AM

    If you live in Detroit only during the fall and winter, I can see how you could be unhappy. But this guy was here one fall… he probably was led around by the team, and never really experienced the city. If anyone had heard of him, he would have had better treatment, I’m sure, but from the sound of this book, he felt entitled from the outset.

    Fontes thought you were a joke because YOU WERE A JOKE, Vernon. You were a cap friendly number behind the greatest running back in history.

    He sounds like every freaking high school athlete that went nowhere “If it wasn’t for that coach, I could have been a contender!”

  27. tbonecostanza says: Jul 15, 2011 10:56 AM

    The Barry comment cracked me up.

    I’m sure the day he ventured into Fontes’ office was the day he hit the snack jackpot.

  28. Knightlines says: Jul 15, 2011 11:19 AM

    Who?

  29. schmitty2 says: Jul 15, 2011 11:53 AM

    innerlign says:
    Jul 15, 2011 10:31 AM
    “schmitty2 says:
    Jul 15, 2011 9:41 AM
    I swear they will let anyone right a book nowadays.”

    I swear they will let anyone WRITE in a blog comment section these days. Even the ones who can’t spell write

    Thanks for the grammar check there Mr. Professor.

  30. db3300 says: Jul 15, 2011 12:19 PM

    He must be getting his advice from the members of his “posse” – former HS teammates still trying to hold onto their glory by being around such a big star.

    By trashing the city, he’s assured himself that no one inside of Detroit will buy it. No one outside the city is ever going to buy a book by some scrub whose name I’ve never heard of and can’t even be bothered to scroll back up to look for.

  31. jimmylions says: Jul 15, 2011 11:11 PM

    I’m a die hard Lions fan. I went to a ton of home games when Vernon Turner supposedly played for the Lions. I’ve never heard of him.

    If I was walking down the street and you asked me who Vernon Turner was, I would have said … isn’t he the guy that Bill Clinton hired to hide all the sex he was having?

  32. coke566 says: Jul 16, 2011 3:54 AM

    Verne Troyer played for the lions?

  33. bubbajon46 says: Jul 19, 2011 6:47 PM

    Was this Napoleon Dynamite’s Uncle???

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