For Lance Moore, the Lions made football fun again in 2015.
The season didn’t go as planned, of course, as the Lions went 7-9 and fell short of the playoffs. But after a tough 2014 in Pittsburgh that finished with Moore being inactive for the Steelers’ only postseason game, the 32-year-old felt rejuvenated with a fresh start in Detroit.
“Last year was a tough year for me, and it became a lot more like work,” he said. “Obviously, I’m a receiver. I’ve got a little bit of diva in me. I want the ball, I want to score touchdowns and stuff like that.
“Just making football fun again was important to me and has definitely refreshed my mind, and (I) would love to continue playing football. Whereas coming into this year, I had thoughts that made it could be my last year.”
The Lions signed Moore to a one-year deal last May in part because of his familiarity with the offense. Moore and Joe Lombardi, the offensive coordinator the Lions fired in October, spent seven seasons together with the New Orleans Saints.
But shortly after Moore joined the Lions, he and quarterback Matthew Stafford developed good chemistry. Moore even joined his new teammates, including Stafford and other pass catchers, in Atlanta last July for pre-training camp workouts.
In camp, it was quickly evident that Moore was in line to become the No. 3 receiver on the team despite a lackluster 2014 in which he had just 14 catches for 198 yards and two touchdowns in 14 games for the Steelers.
Moore finished 2015 with 29 catches for 337 yards and four touchdowns in 14 games, missing two due to an ankle injury. In a Week 6 win over the Bears, he had his first 100-yard game since 2012.
Coach Jim Caldwell described Moore as “really consistent” during the season, and from Weeks 2 to 10, Moore had at least two catches in seven of eight games. He was also a backup option on punt returns.
“He does bring knowledge, experience, maturity and moxie to the game,” Caldwell said in December. “He’s been a great aid to us.”
Stafford called Moore a great veteran who’s savvy at running routes and credited him for making critical catches in games. Moore caught a winning 4-yard touchdown pass in a Week 10 win over the Packers, the Lions’ first win at Lambeau Field since 1991.
Although 2014 wasn’t a fun season for Moore, bouncing back in 2015 makes him want to play again next season.
“Coming into the season, I wasn’t sure, but this place has helped to kind of revitalize me and reenergize me,” he said. “And I’d love to be back here for another year.”
Like most veterans, Moore understands it’s not necessarily up to him where he plays next year. After spending nine years in New Orleans, one in Pittsburgh and one in Detroit, he’d like to stay with the Lions.
“I think I’ve played enough ball to know that this group that’s here could be scary good next year,” he said.
But, with new general manager Bob Quinn in charge, it’s unclear if the Lions will try to re-sign Moore. Whether it’s here or elsewhere, he just wants another chance to make an impact.
“We’ll wait and see where the chips fall, but I’m definitely looking forward to 2016,” he said.