Lions defensive coordinator says Nick Fairley turned a corner last year

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.

19 responses to “Lions defensive coordinator says Nick Fairley turned a corner last year

  1. in other words, austin hopes competing teams are numb enough to throw money at this guy for a wasted roster spot?

  2. His weight issues are the problem. When he’s big, he’s lazy. When he’s in shape, he’s capable of some major damage. He needs his plays off to be effective. His injury didnt help him last year, but some of you guys think he tried extra hard last year because of a contract year is inaccurate. He spent most the year on the bench, injured. Thats not playing for a contract. Thats being injured in a contract year. And that is unfortunate of him, good for the Lions.

  3. I still think they need to make it a priority to sign Fairley regardless of the Suh deal and do that FIRST.

    Why? Because now would be the time you can talk his contract down and downplay his value because of the injury and the uncertainty of his work ethic going forward. Give him a 1 year “Prove It” deal worth $4-5 mil or whatever the market would reasonably allow and lock him down.

    If they don’t get Suh I’m afraid Fairley is going to be a knee jerk reaction and they will OVER PAY him later. I’d rather take him for $4 mil now then give him $8 mil in desperation later.

  4. I believe in Nick and hope he stays in Detroit. On pure raw ability, I don’t know if there’s a more talented DT in the league. It took some time for him to mature but if he can stay healthy, I see him being very good for the next 3-5 years

  5. I hope he’s got his act together, but if he doesn’t watch his weight, he’ll turn quite a few corners.

  6. Nick Fairley did turn a corner, unfortunately he did it at 100 mph and received a reckless driving charge. At least the DUI was thrown out.

  7. People make it out like Fairley spent his first three seasons as a fat scrub, but even including his injury plagued rookie year, he’s always played well on the field, a top 15 DT as shown by various metrics like those used by PFF. I’m not saying he’s *the* model of consistency or to give him a seven year deal where he’s set for life right now, but so many just repeat the same media talking points on Fairley all the time. They’re really exaggerations which obscure how well he’s played when on the field the past four years as well as the fact he seems to be a good teammate everyone likes having around.

  8. Hmm, a talented, but fat and lazy DT who only plays hard in a contract year? He’s definitely Redskins material.

  9. Lawrence turned the corner and sacked Stafford multiple times in the 2nd half of that pathetic playoff loss, completely shutting down that overrated Lion’s offense. The Lions had an easy schedule, no competition in their division, they aren’t that good.

    …and their fans cry about some bad PI call that they use as an excuse for why they got worked by the Cowboys! Lion’s suck and Fairley is a lazy fats.

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