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Darius Slay, Lions try to avoid negativity as season fades away

By Matt Schoch
The Detroit News

Allen Park — Darius Slay is giving the finger wag on other days that aren’t Sunday as well.

The Lions cornerback said he’s blocked over 1,000 accounts on Twitter since his team has stumbled after a strong start.

Lions' Darius Slay walks off the field after a Cowboys touchdown in the fourth quarter.  NFL Detroit Lions vs Dallas Cowboys at Ford Field in Detroit, Michigan on November 17, 2019.  (Image by Daniel Mears / The Detroit News)

“I block those guys,” Slay said Monday. “If they say something about me, or any other Lion, talk crazy… ‘Block.’”

It was a lighthearted anecdote for a locker room and press corps that needed it. But in reality, staying insulated is as good of a plan as any for the Lions, who lost their sixth straight game Sunday, 20-7 to Minnesota.

After a 2-0-1 start, the fall-off has been steady and steep to 3-9-1. Slay, who played his 100th game with Detroit on Sunday, said he feels the frustration from the fans and empathizes.

“We feel the same way, we want to win just as bad as they want to win,” Slay said. “It’s just hard, it’s hard to win. It’s a tough game to play. There’s a lot of great teams. “Look at our division. You know how hard it is. You’ve got two teams that damn near almost got 10 wins. It’s tough, it’s hard. We feel like we’re in one of the best divisions for sure over here.”

On Sunday, the Lions gained 70 yards in the first half, going three-and-out in four of their six drives behind third-string quarterback David Blough.

Injuries have accumulated, but Lions coach Matt Patricia has preached the same day-by-day approach, saying Monday he’s trying to have the best Monday he can for the team to get better.

“We’re trying to do everything we can to get good players in here to help us win to grow a good team, to build a foundation, and then obviously hopefully play a lot better on Sundays than we’re playing right now,” Patricia said. “That hasn’t changed. None of that’s changed.”

Patricia deflected questions about his job status and said his conversations with ownership stay private.

Sunday was the first game this season the Lions didn’t hold a lead. Only a late touchdown pass from Blough to Kenny Golladay prevented the first scoreless game for the Lions since 2009.

Slay said again Monday that Lions players have to find their purpose, which means playing well on Sundays.

“A lot of people in this business is doing what’s best for themselves, so you have to do what’s best for you too also,” Slay said. “(Patricia) has been preaching to us, telling us stay motivated, stay family, stay brotherhood, keep playing for each other.

“And that’s what we do already. That’s why coach always preaches about us, that we fight a lot. But we know what we go through in this room and on that field. So we all deserve to keep playing hard.”

Added Patricia: “I think we talk a lot about purpose. Kind of, what is our purpose? What’s individual purpose? What’s our team purpose? I think the best thing for us right now as a team and what we’ve told them is, the two things we have right now is we have the game, and we have each other. So that’s really what we’re focused on.”

Slay joined Dick LeBeau, Lem Barney and Bruce McNorton as the only cornerbacks to appear in 100 games for Detroit.

While the finger wag has been the cornerback’s signature Sunday move, Slay also swipes on Thursdays — his banking app.

“Payday is on Thursday,” Slay said. “Every time Thursday gets here, I’ll be pretty damn excited.”

Pittman returns

Anthony Pittman is back.

The former Wayne State linebacker was signed to the practice squad on Monday, as former Purdue tight end Cole Herdman was released.

Pittman was released in favor of Herdman last week. It was the second time Pittman, a Birmingham Groves graduate, has been signed by the team a short time after being released.

Through 12 games, the Lions have not activated a player from the state of Michigan for the first time since the team moved to Detroit from Portsmouth, Ohio in 1934.

Pittman played in all four preseason games, making 14 tackles.

No injury update

Patricia said there was no update yet Monday on injuries the Lions suffered during the loss, including running back Bo Scarbrough (ribs) and offensive tackle Rick Wagner (knee), who both left Sunday’s game with injuries.

Jarrad Davis, A’Shawn Robinson and Slay went down with injuries, but came back in the game.

Matt Schoch is a freelance writer.