For three players in Sunday’s Super Bowl, the chance to become the ultimate winner is fueled by having already been part of the NFL’s ultimate loser.
Three members of the 2008 Lions, who went 0-16 are playing this week — Broncos linebacker Paris Lenon and center Manny Ramirez and Seahawks defensive end Cliff Avril were all part of that special team which won none.
Avril said the long haul from 0-16 to a Lombardi Trophy was “the first thing I thought about” when the Seahawks won the NFC Championship Game, and Lenon knows all about long roads. He’s the last player left from the XFL, and he’s on his eighth NFL team in 14 seasons.
But none stick out more than 2008, and the way the team collapsed upon itself.
“I’ll say this,” Lenon said, via Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press. “When you’re in a situation like that, you have a certain amount of guys that pack it in. That’s difficult for me because I’m not that type of person. I’m going to compete till the end, so that’s the most difficult part of being in a situation like that. Now, it’s complete reversal. . . .
“I can’t give you an estimation on the percentage [of guys that checked out]. I know that there are a good amount of guys who do. How you avoid that? I think it’s about who you are as a person, what your character is. It’s never been my character. I couldn’t even imagine doing it.”
You don’t stay in the league as long as he has following the path that he has without feeling that way.
But you don’t accidentally end up 0-16 if you don’t have plenty who do.