Allen Park — Over the past few years, the Lions have brought in several players from the New Orleans Saints, but none of Lance Moore's former teammates vouched for him as much as Dan Orlovsky.
Moore, who spent nine seasons with the Saints, works out with Orlovsky each off season in Tampa, Florida, and he said he definitely owes him one for helping him come to Detroit this year.
"He definitely helped me get signed here," Moore said. "He was the one that kind of reached out to the coaches and suggested they take me in, and I'm obviously thankful for that."
In 2004, Moore's Toledo team played Orlovsky's UConn squad in the Motor City Bowl before both of them started preparing for the 2005 draft — UConn won. Moore said one of his friends was Orlovsky's college roommate and the two have a lot of mutual friends, so with both of them living in Tampa in the offseason, training together made perfect sense.
In addition to Orlovsky, who spent two years with Tampa Bay, Moore said his brother Nick, who plays in the CFL, and Buccaneers quarterback Mike Glennon are among the people who work out with them.
Moore, 31, has yet to have success in the NFL outside of New Orleans, though. In his first year in Pittsburgh, Moore had just 14 catches for 198 yards and two touchdowns as he fell behind younger players on the depth chart. In Detroit, he'll face a similar predicament as he tries to make the team because the Lions are hoping recent draft picks like Corey Fuller, TJ Jones and Ryan Broyles can be backup receiver options.
When Moore was inactive for the Steelers' playoff loss to Baltimore, a rare healthy scratch, he knew he didn't want to return for the second year of his deal. Then, in March, Pittsburgh cut him.
"It's definitely motivated me, but I would say that I've never been so excited to go to practice," he said. "I've never been so excited to really just have another chance."
And Moore feels more comfort in Detroit because of the similar faces. Offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi was in New Orleans for seven years, and Moore said it's "pretty much the same offense." Cornerbacks coach Tony Oden was in New Orleans for a season. Running back Joique Bell, defensive tackle Tyrunn Walker and safety Isa Abdul-Quddus also spent time with the Saints earlier in their careers.
"It definitely makes the transition easier," he said. "Last year was a little bit different case. (Quarterback) Bruce Gradkowski was there — he was my roommate in college — but he was pretty much the only guy that I knew going into that building."