Detroit — It’s tough, at times, for former Detroit Lions wide receiver Brett Perriman to recall the greatest moments of his career.
One-third of a receiving corps that complimented the rushing attack of Barry Sanders in the original “Greatest Show on Turf,” the 54-year-old is still feeling the effects of a 2016 stroke and ensuing onset of dementia.
The weight of these conditions on his family has been significant. The legacy he left in Detroit is, too.
And in tandem, they both added to the extraordinary nature of his son, Buccaneers receiver Breshad Perriman, pulling in five passes and setting single-game career-highs with 113 receiving yards and three touchdowns to help Tampa Bay beat his father’s former team at Ford Field on Sunday, 38-17.
“I haven’t had a chance to really think about it yet, but it just means a lot to me,” Breshad said. “I have a lot of love for my pops and the legacy he had here. Just to be able to come here and have a great game, one of my biggest games of my career, it means a lot for our story.”
Brett played in Detroit from 1991-96. His best year came in 1995, when he caught 108 passes for 1,488 yards and nine touchdowns. Tampa Bay quarterback Jameis Winston, who has family in Detroit, said that he was certainly aware of the significance of where Breshad’s career game occurred.
“God works in mysterious ways. How about that? Him having the best game of his NFL career in the same place that his dad had so much success at,” Winston said. “I think his hard work has just continued to pay off, and that’s what happens.”
Pro Bowl receiver Mike Evans (hamstring) was inactive for Sunday’s game, opening the door for an uptick in targets for the former Central Florida standout. And while the fourth-year veteran’s performance on Sunday was somewhat unprecedented, nobody in the Tampa Bay locker room labeled it unexpected.
“I’m surprised it took this long. I really am,” head coach Bruce Arians said of the breakout performance. “With Chris (Godwin) and Mike having the years they’ve had, it was hard, but he had a great ballgame."
Winston, who threw for 458 yards and four touchdowns on 28-for-42 passing and set a career-high for single-game passing yards, hit a wide-open Perriman in the end zone for their first-quarter touchdown connection. He then found him near the sideline for a 25-yard score in the second quarter. For their final trick, the speedy Perriman outran Lions safety Tracy Walker at the line of scrimmage, and Winston dropped a beauty right into his arms for another 25-yard touchdown.
Perriman was looking forward to talking to his father after getting on the bus, although he knows he might need a refresher.
“He can watch the game and he knows,” Perriman said. “But sometimes, maybe you might have to show him again, maybe in a few minutes, he’ll forget everything that happened.”
Regardless of whether Brett’s able to remember it, one thing is certain: The NFL record books will show that the Perrimans owned this city.
Nolan Bianchi is a freelance writer.