Bo Scarbrough is comfortable in his new space — the Lions locker room

By Matt Schoch
The Detroit News
Bo Scarbrough had 55 yards and his first career touchdown against the Cowboys.

Allen Park — A staple of professional sports locker rooms is the prime placement of star players, giving them plenty of room to relax.

Miguel Cabrera has his corner of the Tigers clubhouse where he can stretch out, while Blake Griffin and Andre Drummond have a little extra space in the back of the Pistons locker room, possibly unspoken, but probably because of their All-Star clout.

In the Lions locker room, only quarterback Matthew Stafford had a stall in Allen Park with empty lockers on either side.

Until Bo Scarbrough came to town, that is.

Scarbrough went in the seventh round of last year’s draft and played his first NFL game on Sunday, but he’s got a wing to himself at Lions headquarters fit for a Hall of Famer.

It’s in the front of the room, but Scarbrough’s stall has three empty ones on either side, set off on the tail of the otherwise circular setup, a few slots down from his offensive line neighbors.

“This is what I wanted to choose,” Scarbrough said. “If I wanted to sit right here, I could sit. If I wanted to sit over here, I could sit. Throw my shirt off, throw it in this one, I could use all three.

“I don’t have anyone over there complaining, talking to their girlfriend, being a little in the way. It’s fine with me.”

Already with an impressive college resume to his name, Scarbrough played like a guy planning on sticking around Sunday in a 35-27 loss to Dallas.

A surprise starter, Scarbrough carried the ball 2 yards on Detroit’s first offensive play. His 14 carries equaled the total of every Lions other ballcarrier combined.

Scarbrough had 55 yards and his first career touchdown. According to Pro Football Reference, he totaled 2 yards before contact and 53 after, as the Lions offensive line struggled to keep Dallas bodies off him.

“I thought he played super physical,” said Lions quarterback Jeff Driskel, himself a surprise starter the week before. “Rarely did you see the first guy that made contact with him bring him down. I thought he just brought a really physical presence to the run game.”

After signing with the Lions on Nov. 6, Scarbrough was activated from the practice squad on Saturday. He said the preparation leading up to Sunday was the same as the Iron Bowl or the championship of the College Football Playoff.

“I treat everything the same. Cold tub, hot tub, everything is the same,” Scarbrough said. “It’s football, so the preparation doesn’t change. You can’t make one game as bigger than another game when they’re all the same game.”

Scarbrough is used to big games, having won two national championships and playing for a third in three seasons at Alabama.

Listed at 235 pounds, Scarbrough averaged 5.7 yards per carry and scored 20 touchdowns for the Crimson Tide.

He said Tide running backs from recent history, such as Mark Ingram of Baltimore and Josh Jacobs of Oakland, reached out to him after the game. Alabama’s recent crop of running backs also includes Derrick Henry of Tennessee, Kenyan Drake of Arizona, T.J. Yeldon of Buffalo and Damien Harris of New England.

Drafted in the seventh round by Dallas in 2018, Scarbrough was cut after training camp and played on the Cowboys practice squad for a little over a month.

After a couple months with the Jacksonville practice squad, Seattle scooped him up at the end of last season, and he was with the Seahawks in training camp this season before being a cut-day casualty.

The Lions picked him up, and he hopes to stick around in Michigan, where he has an uncle in Saginaw and family nearby in Chicago.

“That’s every kid's dream, and I want to thank Matty P for giving me the opportunity that they’re giving me,” Scarbrough said. “I just took advantage of it. I just tried to do what I do best and help the team win, and do my job.”

With the Lions, he saw across the way that the linemen had their shoes lined up in front of their lockers, so he did the same.

“I got mine lined up just like they did,” he said. “I feel comfortable around here, to be honest with you.”

Matt Schoch is a freelance writer.