Lions' Alex Anzalone re-signs with 2 others, looks to 'leave a legacy' in Detroit

Justin Rogers
The Detroit News

Allen Park — Prior to adding any outside pieces, the Detroit Lions continued to focus their attention on bringing back several players from last year's team. On Monday, the Lions announced the re-signing of three more, a group headlined by linebacker Alex Anzalone. 

"I talked to (coach) Dan (Campbell) at the end of the season and I told him that I wanted to come back," Anzalone said. "It's a place where I, personally, can leave a legacy of when we turn this thing around and start competing in games that really matter, late in the season, playoff runs and things like that. I think that was the attraction for me."

Linebacker Alex Anzalone (right) is returning next season to the Lions.

Anzalone originally signed with the Lions last offseason, following Campbell and defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn from New Orleans.

"From the start, from their vision last year, they kind of just let me play, play my game and let me play free, and kind of gave me the keys to the defense," Anzalone said. "I think that took my game to another level from where I was at before. Just looking forward to continuing that on."

Anzalone ended up suffering a season-ending shoulder injury late in the year, costing him the final three games. Shoulder injuries have been an issue for him, previously costing him time both at the University of Florida and with the Saints. 

He noted last year's injury was unrelated to the previous ones and he didn't require any offseason surgery to address the more recent issue. 

Viewed as both a productive player and a culture builder, Anzalone was selected a team captain and started 14 games, playing a career-high 828 defense snaps and recording a personal-best 78 tackles. He also was leading the league in missed tackles at the time of the injury, according to Pro Football Focus. 

Anzalone's re-signing maintains some continuity in Detroit's linebacker room, which will also return 2021 draft pick Derrick Barnes and special teams standouts Josh Woods and Anthony Pittman, who were both retained earlier this offseason.

Jalen Reeves-Maybin, who played more than 600 defensive snaps for the Lions last season, is scheduled to be a free agent Wednesday. 

In addition to Anzalone, the Lions also announced they've re-signed safety Jalen Elliott and linebacker Shaun Dion Hamilton. 

Dion Hamilton, who was claimed off waivers in January 2021, missed last season after suffering a training camp injury. Elliott, an undrafted free agent in 2020, appeared in eight games for the Lions last season, including one start.

Twitter: @Justin_Rogers