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Allen Park — Before each Lions game, coach Jim Caldwell shakes hands with all of the team’s players.

With so many other things to worry about before the game, shaking hands with 50-plus guys is no easy task, but after Caldwell saw coach Joe Paterno do it when they worked together at Penn State from 1986-92, he’s made it a priority as a head coach.

“I started doing it when I first became a head coach in college,” Caldwell said, referring to his time at Wake Forest. “Actually, I saw one of my head coaches do it, and I always thought it was a great touch because of the fact that it was kind of a, ‘Hey, we’re all in this thing together’ sort of a handshake. So, I adopted it back then and still do it today.”

Caldwell will continue the tradition on Sunday night when the Lions hold their season opener at Ford Field against the Denver Broncos (8:30 p.m., NBC). And after starting 0-2 with a pair of road games, the Lions are looking forward to returning to the friendly confines.

“Every time I walk into that stadium it’s a real thrill,” Caldwell said. “I’m happy to be on that sideline and having an opportunity to lead a bunch of men. I’m thankful every day for that opportunity.”

jkatzenstein@detroitnews.com

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