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‘I know my money’: Pick pays off big time for Lions’ Darius Slay

Justin Rogers
The Detroit News
Darius Slay

Allen Park – Darius Slay keeps padding his resume, and in the process, the Detroit Lions cornerback is also padding his bank account.

Slay made a smart read on a play-action rollout in Sunday’s victory over the Tampa Bay Bucs, jumping a Jameis Winston pass intended for DeSean Jackson near the sideline. The corner made the sliding grab, his fifth interception of the season.

“I thought I was sliding into first base,” Slay said. “You know people don’t slide into first base, so I slid into it on purpose.”

More: Justin Rogers' Lions grades: Secondary nets high marks

The pick also all but assured Slay will earn a $550,000 bonus tied to his playing time and performance, a fact that wasn’t lost on him after the game.

“Of course,” Slay said. “Yes, I know my money.”

Had Slay not recorded another interception this season, he still could have earned the bonus by being selected to the Pro Bowl. As of last week, he had received more votes from the fans than any NFC cornerback.

“I feel I could have been Pro Bowl the past three years, but I didn’t get enough hands on the ball,” Slay said. “Now I’m getting hands on the ball, making a lot of plays.

“I should have been (a Pro Bowler in the past), but it’s good they’re noticing,” he said. “I’ve been balling. I’ve been working, I’ve been grinding, competing every play against their best and it is what it is.”

Fan voting is one-third of the process, with coaches and players making up the rest of the vote. Still, it’s difficult to imagine Slay getting passed over following this season.

Slay’s five interceptions are tied for third in the NFL, behind Jacksonville cornerback A.J. Bouye and Tennessee safety Kevin Byard, who each have six. Slay’s 17 pass defenses are second, trailing San Diego cornerback Casey Heyward’s 19.

And Slay, 26, has racked up those numbers despite being asked to travel with the opponent’s best receiver more weeks than any cornerback in the NFL and playing behind one of the league’s worst pass rushes.