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Lions’ Slay cries over deal: ‘I love Detroit’

Justin Rogers
The Detroit News

Allen Park — Darius Slay isn’t one to bottle his enthusiasm, so you can imagine how giddy the Lions cornerback was on Friday, hours after signing a reported four-year, $50.2 million extension with the organization.

Slay told reporters he got emotional when he first learned the extension had been completed.

“I tried to hold my tears in, but I couldn’t for too long because of where I come from,” Slay said. “I shed a couple tears. I talked to (Glover Quin), I cried on GQ’s shoulder for a second because he’s seen me as a pup, a young guy coming up, and seeing me do this right now. I give credit to him and (Rashean Mathis) because they built me up to the guy that I am.”

Despite two seasons at Mississippi State, playing in the highly competitive SEC, Slay entered the NFL a raw talent. A second-round draft pick by the Lions in 2013, he joined a veteran secondary consisting of Quin, Louis Delmas and Chris Houston.

A starter right out the gate, Slay struggled and was quickly replaced in the lineup by Mathis, whom the team had signed off the street during training camp that year. The veteran proved to be a steadying force in the defensive backfield, but also an invaluable mentor to Slay during his first few years in the league.

That’s why when Slay learned the extension had been agreed upon, the first person he called was Mathis.

“I called him right when it got done,” Slay said. “About five seconds, I walked out of the room and called ’Shean. (Quin) was first, ’Shean was second. I didn’t even tell my mom yet. She probably saw it on ESPN or something.”

Staying in Detroit was a priority for Slay. He pushed for an extension a year before his rookie contract expired, even though he likely would have earned a significantly larger contract on the open market next offseason.

“I love the city and the city love me,” Slay said. “I wanted this to be my home for me and my family and I felt confident about that.”