Lions’ Frank Ragnow won’t boast about manhandling a giant Bear

Detroit News

Justin Rogers
| The Detroit News

Everything you need to know about Frank Ragnow was on display during one second-quarter play against the Chicago Bears last Sunday.

On the snap, the Detroit Lions center pushed Bears defensive tackle Akiem Hicks back a couple yards before driving the former Pro Bowler into the ground. It’s that combination of technique and physicality that has made Ragnow one of the best players at his position in the league. 

Hicks (6-4, 350 pounds), a fierce competitor in his own right, took exception to being dominated on the rep and gave Ragnow a stiff shove while the two were still tangled on the ground. But instead of reacting, the Lions offensive lineman stood up and walked away as if nothing had happened. 

In that regard, Ragnow, who was born and raised just outside of Minneapolis, embodies the stereotype of Minnesota nice. It’s also a clear example why he was recently selected as the team’s Art Rooney sportsmanship award winner. 

More: Time with Badgers, Packers filled with ‘fond memories’ for Lions’ Darrell Bevell

“I take a lot of pride, I guess, in just doing the right thing,” Ragnow said this week. “That’s kinda how my parents raised me and it’s definitely an honor to be recognized for that.”

Ragnow’s sportsmanship extended to the interview when he was asked specifically about that block on Hicks. At first, he dodged the question, but when pressed, used the opportunity to praise Hicks. 

“If you make a big block like that, it definitely feels good,” Ragnow said. “He’s a good player and I’ve got a lot of respect for him. He plays really good, plays really hard and, I mean, it feels good. So you get a little bit excited, but otherwise, they’re blocks.”

Because of offsetting penalties, not involving Ragnow or Hicks, it’s as if the play didn’t even happen. But the film exists.

As for Ragnow’s favorite block as a member of the Lions, he went back to Week 2 of last season when he helped spring running back Kerryon Johnson for a 36-yard touchdown on a screen pass. 

After initially engaging the nose tackle, Ragnow got out in space ahead of the back, blasting safety Rayshawn Jenkins to clear the path to the end zone. From the end zone camera angle, Ragnow could be seen getting back to his feet, jumping in the air and pumping his fist simultaneous to Johnson crossing the goal line. 

“I got pretty hyped in the moment during that one,” he said. 

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