Lions donate workout equipment to Detroit PAL

Josh Katzenstein
The Detroit News

Detroit — The Lions turned one of their major offseason improvements into a philanthropic effort Thursday.

In February, team officials began the first major renovation to the weight room since Allen Park headquarters opened in 2002. But instead of selling the old equipment, Lions officials donated it to Detroit Police Athletic League.

Tim Richey, chief executive for Detroit PAL, said the “extraordinary” donation includes about $300,000 worth of equipment, and he expects many of the children involved in the organization’s sports — including football, track and volleyball — to utilize the new weight room at the Boysville Gym.

About a dozen PAL football players used the equipment alongside Lions wide receiver Corey Fuller and running back George Winn. Team president Rod Wood said the donation included about 300 total pieces of equipment, although most of the conditioning apparatuses were kept.

The donation was weeks in the making. The Lions hired Harold Nash Jr. as strength and conditioning coach in late January, and he wanted to make changes. After some research, it was determined a complete renovation costing thousands of dollars — Wood didn’t give an exact amount — was best.

“I think he’s got his system, and he thought this was best equipment for him,” Wood said of Nash, who joined the Lions after 11 years with the Patriots.

Said Nash: “We just thought it was definitely time. Typically, in any weight room, wherever you are, after about 15 or so years, it’s sort of time to change some things around.”

With the help South Carolina-based Sorinex, the Lions continued with their renovation plans, and in February, Wood met with Richey. A day after the meeting, Wood called Richey and offered the equipment to PAL.

Richey called PAL’s relationship with the Lions “critical,” noting his gratitude to the team for hosting the football championships at Ford Field.

He said this is the only weight room PAL has. The program includes about 3,200 youth football players, and he said the league probably will have to coordinate a schedule for when teams can use it.

But the expectation is children will be able to use the equipment after school, and Richey said some volunteer coaches could be trained to teach kids how to best utilize the weight room.

As for the new Lions weight room, Wood said the installation began in March and has been done for about 10 days. The team begins its offseason workout program April 18.

Twitter: @jkatzenstein