Dan Orlovsky recalls true story of Detroit Lions play-caller falling asleep mid-game

Detroit Free Press

The early days of Dan Orlovsky’s first tenure with the Detroit Lions were full of losses.

And funny stories of dysfunction.

That’s what we learned Friday when he joined former NFL defensive end Chris Long on his “Green Light” podcast.

“You were in Detroit, what was your most dysfunctional thing that you saw there?” asked Long.

“How much time do you have?” Orlovsky said. 

Then Orlovsky, who made seven starts for the Lions over seven seasons and is now an ESPN NFL analyst, told a few stories that might make Lions fans both laugh and cry.

“There was a couple of times when I was the backup quarterback, the offensive coordinator would call the play into me on the headset and then I would relay it to our starting quarterback.

“The series is starting, we trot out for first down, and silence on the call (headset). Our offensive coordinator at the time had fallen asleep in the booth — in the booth! Our guys are on the field waiting for a play call and all you hear is (mimics snoring). Fell asleep in the middle of an NFL football game, while we had the ball, as the play-caller.”

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Orlovsky didn’t mention the coordinator’s name, but here’s the offensive coordinators he played under in Detroit: Greg Olson, Ted Tollner, Mike Martz, Jim Colletto, Joe Lombardi and Jim Bob Cooter.

Orlovsky, who played with the Lions in 2005-08 and 2014-16, said his second time with the Lions was “a lot better” than his first tenure.

He also told a “true story” from the Lions’ infamous 0-16 season in 2008, when he was starting early in the season.

“It’s a Wednesday morning, so we’re installing the majority of our pass offense that week,” Orlovsky said. “And I’m sitting there trying to install these plays. I got a quarterback coach sitting to my right, and all of a sudden I look over there, and he’s got our Detroit Lions install binder, and inside of that, he’s got the install binder of a college. And he’s preparing for a head coaching interview that’s coming up that week! While I’m trying to learn this offense. So I’m sitting here asking him questions and he’s preparing for a head coaching interview, I’m sitting there going, ‘Dude you got to be kidding me right now.’ “

No wonder that team stunk.

Orlovsky joins the podcast at 33:24 and talks Matthew Stafford, the Lions and more.

Follow Marlowe Alter on Twitter: @Marlowe Alter. The Free Press has started a new digital subscription model. Here’s how you can gain access to our most exclusive sports content. 

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