The Lions obviously want to keep defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh, and just as obviously were displeased enough with former first-rounder Nick Fairley to not pick up the fifth-year option on his rookie deal.
But with the clock ticking toward the start of free agency and the possibility of losing Suh, the Lions might be showing more interest in keeping Fairley.
Via Tim Twentyman of the team’s official website (and the messenger might be as important as the message here), defensive coordinator Teryl Austin has been talking up Fairley, saying he proved himself a professional last year.
“As a player you could say, ‘I’m going to play hard or I’m going to get in shape’ and sometimes when things don’t go well you go right back into your old habits,” Austin said.
“He got injured and he didn’t. He kept himself in good shape. He kept his weight down, he worked really hard and if we were fortunate enough to win at Dallas he would have been ready to play a little bit in the next game and so that shows me that he’s turned the corner.
“I mean I really like Nick and I like Nick as a player. I think he’s a really good player. But I think he did, I think he turned a corner.”
The reality is, any decision on whether to sign him or at what level of compensation will be made by people higher up the food chain than Austin.
But it’s interesting and worth filing away that the Lions are willing to broadcast that interest from their own in-house network.
Fairley said after being cleared of a DUI charge last week that he wanted to stay, and perhaps now they’re more inclined to make that happen.