The Lions did not play quarterback Matthew Stafford, running back Kerryon Johnson or safety Quandre Diggs against the Patriots on Thursday night, but they did play some of their other starters in the first preseason game of the summer.
One of those starters was cornerback Darius Slay, who played one series before heading to the bench. Slay began practicing last week after a stint on the non-football injury list and an offseason spent away from the team in a push for a new contract.
Head coach Matt Patricia was asked if Slay’s presence in the lineup was designed to send a message. Patricia said there was “no message” before pointing out other first-string players who were on the field.
“There was the entire offensive line was out there to start the game. Tracy Walker was out there. Romeo Okwara was out there. Justin Coleman was out there,” Patricia said, via the Detroit Free Press. “Anybody that we felt could play and would be beneficial for them to get some snaps in a game, we tried to play.”
Slay didn’t have a pass thrown his way or make a tackle in six snaps of work.