Detroit — Days after Lions cornerback Darius Slay declined to say he wanted to remain with the team through the trade deadline, other NFL general managers have been calling to see if the two-time Pro Bowler is available, according to an ESPN report.
Slay didn't play in Sunday's game against the New York Giants due to a lingering hamstring injury, and he wasn't on the sideline for the contest. That isn't unusual for an injured player, especially one dealing with a lower-body injury. Asked if he was even in the building for the game, Lions coach Matt Patricia said he wasn't certain.
"I’m not 100 percent sure, but we had treatment and all of that stuff, too," Patricia said. "So, I think he was.”
Asked if it's important for the team to keep Slay, Patricia preferred to talk about Detroit's hard-fought 31-26 victory over the Giants.
“Again, I want everybody," Patricia said, presumably referring to all the players currently on the Lions' roster. "We just have to try to win and have to put everybody out there. I mean for us, I enjoy the team we have and I’m trying to coach them as hard as we can, and we’ll go from there. I just want to give credit to the players that played in the game today and just talk about the Giants. I think our guys battled really hard today.”
Slay, a second-round draft pick for the Lions in 2013, has developed into one of the game's premier cover corners, a star on the field and a guy who never causes problems outside the lines.
Slay sparked concerns he no longer wanted to be in Detroit long-term this week when he emotionally reacted to the trading of friend and longtime teammate Quandre Diggs.
"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."
On Friday, Patricia said he hadn't spoken to Slay individually but expressed empathy for the emotions players go through when a teammate is traded.
"I think for me, Darius is passionate about this team, he’s passionate about his friends, he’s passionate about football," Patricia said. "So for us, I know the decision will impact everybody — players, coaches, people throughout the building — that’s certainly always the case. They’re never easy, and we try to make the best decision in the moment for the team, and we move forward."
There remains no indication the Lions would seriously consider moving Slay. Several superstar players have been traded around the league in the past year, including cornerback Jalen Ramsey, who netted two first-round picks and an additional fourth-rounder for the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Slay wouldn't command nearly as much, despite being similar in talent, because he's nearly four years older than Ramsey.