Chris Spielman to become 19th inductee to Detroit Lions' 'Pride of Lions'

Justin Rogers
The Detroit News

Allen Park — The Detroit Lions announced former linebacker and current special assistant Chris Spielman will be inducted into the team's "Pride of the Lions." 

Chris Spielman wears his former No 54 jersey while being honored at a Lions game.

"Any time you are recognized for an individual award, as a part of a team-oriented pursuit, your immediate thoughts go to your family, teammates, coaches and all of the people in the organization,"  Spielman said in a statement. "My time as a player was defined by these great relationships I forged, and I realize that they are the biggest reason for any success I may have had. It truly was an honor to represent Lions fans around the world, the city of Detroit and every Lions player past, present and future for eight great seasons."

A second-round draft pick out of Ohio State in 1988, Spielman played eight seasons with the Lions, leading the team in tackles each of those years. He remains the franchise all-time leader in tackles. Additionally, he earned four Pro Bowl selections and was named an All-Pro three times. 

Spielman joins 18 other players in the Pride of the Lions, which was created in 2009 and permanently displayed at Ford Field. Defensive tackles Roger Brown and Alex Karras, as well as wide receiver Herman Moore were most recently inducted in 2018.

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Other members include cornerback Lem Barney, safety Jack Christiansen, quarterback Dutch Clark, offensive lineman Lou Creekmur, kicker Jason Hanson, cornerback Dick “Night Train” Lane, safety Yale Lary, quarterback Bobby Layne, cornerback Dick LeBeau, running back Barry Sanders, tight end Charlie Sanders, linebacker Joe Schmidt, guard Dick Stanfel, running back Doak Walker and offensive lineman Alex Wojciechowicz.

After his time in Detroit, Spielman went on to finish his career with the Buffalo Bills. He took a year off in 1998 after his wife, Stephanie was diagnosed with breast cancer, and he retired while attempting a comeback with the Cleveland Browns in 1999 after suffering a neck injury. Stephanie passed away after more than a decade battle with the disease in 2009. 

After his playing career concluded, Spielman transitioned into broadcasting, where he became a successful color commentator, covering both college football and the NFL for ESPN and Fox Sports. 

Last year, after the Lions fired coach Matt Patricia and general manager Bob Quinn, the Lions brought in Spielman to serve as an adviser for ownership as they searched for new football leadership.

Spielman worked as part of a small group that included owner Sheila Ford Hamp, president Rod Wood and vice president of football operations Mike Disner that headed the search and interview process leading to the hiring of Brad Holmes and Dan Campbell in January. 

“The Detroit Lions could not be prouder of Chris Spielman’s accomplishments on the field and in the community," Wood said in a statement. "He was pivotal to the success the team enjoyed during his time as a player and his induction into the Pride of the Lions cements his place in our history.

"We are thrilled Chris has rejoined the organization as a key member to build the future and we are proud to present him with the highest individual honor we can give to a Lions Legend."

Twitter: @Justin_Rogers