The Lions have lost three straight and just traded starting safety Quandre Diggs. Lose another and the wheels might come off the bus. Justin Rogers, The Detroit News
Allen Park — While most of the Detroit Lions locker room had publicly taken an even-keeled approach to the team's decision to trade starting safety Quandre Diggs this week, cornerback Darius Slay, Diggs' closest friend on the team, had a more visceral reaction, questioning the decision, loyalty in the NFL and his long-term future in Detroit.
"(Crap), it basically say it don’t matter who you is," Slay said. "No matter how much you put in, at the end of the day it’s a business so that’s how I just look at it. Nobody’s safe, in my opinion.
"Why wouldn’t it surprise me? Just told you he was an alternate Pro Bowler and our team captain. How would it not be surprising? That would be crazy."
Diggs was traded to the Seattle Seahawks on Tuesday, along with a future seventh-round draft choice for the Seahawks fifth-round selection in 2020.
Slay, 28, a two-time Pro Bowler and one of the team's best defensive players, said he didn't have any conversations with coach Matt Patricia or general manager Bob Quinn before or after Diggs was traded.
"I ain’t talking to neither one of them about that," Slay said. "That’s their problem. I’m working. That’s all I do. I work. It’s not no kind of relationship or nothing like that, just, I’m here. I work here. It’s my job. I got to do my job."
Patricia addressed the trade privately with the team on Wednesday morning and with the media that afternoon, where he was asked how do you handle player frustrations in moments like these.
"Those situations, we really just have to focus on making sure that we’re doing everything possible to help ourselves and help the team win from that aspect of it, and doing everything that we can to do our jobs better, first and foremost," Patricia said. "You hate to see those situations when they come up, but you get it and you understand what people are trying to do what they think is best going forward, and you respect that, and you just go back to work. That’s really kind of the bottom line."
In the locker room Wednesday afternoon, players on both sides of the ball, including Matthew Stafford, Danny Amendola and Tracy Walker walked the company line, expressing personal affection for Diggs, but understanding the business aspect of the deal and readiness to move forward.
Slay, on the other hand, decried the lack of loyalty to players, not just in Detroit, but around the league. He referenced Earl Thomas' lengthy contract dispute in Seattle prior to the six-time Pro Bowler and Super Bowl champion signing with the Baltimore Ravens in free agency this offseason.
Asked if a trade like this makes him question his loyalty to the team, Slay said he didn't know how to answer that question.
This offseason, Slay staged a mini holdout, skipping both the voluntary portions of the offseason program, as well as mandatory minicamp, trying to convince the team to renegotiate his deal. That didn't come to fruition and he reported to training camp with the rest of his teammates. He remains under contract through the 2020 season.
With the NFL trade deadline approaching next week, Slay acknowledged there's a possibility even he could be traded. When asked if he preferred to stay in Detroit, he was surprisingly non-committal.
"I’m saying I’m here to play ball," Slay said. "Like I said, it don’t matter if I’m here or not. That’s what I want to do, I just want to play ball."
Slay, in a tweet, later asked fans not to get the wrong impression.
"I love the state of Michigan," he tweeted. "I give y'all my all on and off the field for u guys!!!! BigPlay just don't like the business side of it!!!"