‘Fresh start’ with Lions helps Isaiah Buggs rediscover joy playing football

Detroit News

Allen Park — By this point, you’ve heard plenty about the positive culture that’s been installed by Detroit Lions coach Dan Campbell, but being part of it has been an overwhelming experience for defensive lineman Isaiah Buggs.

“I get a text from Buggs almost every day about how he loves it here,” defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn said this week. “I mean, you like when players say that, and listen, I don’t know what happened at those other places, and I really don’t care. The only thing I care about is he’s happy here, and he’s given us everything that he’s got.”

After starting six games for the Pittsburgh Steelers last year, Buggs was discarded by the franchise that drafted him in the latter stages of the 2021 season. It took a minute to find a new football home this offseason and he posted on social media he wasn’t sure another opportunity would come, but the Lions called shortly before the start of training camp.

So far, it’s been a match made in heaven for the 295-pound defensive tackle.

“I work hard every day when I come in every day because I’m happy here,” Buggs said. “You want to be in a place where you’re happy because if you’re not happy, it’s going to affect you on the field, it’s going to affect you everywhere. I wasn’t quite happy in Pittsburgh, but I’m happy here.”

He wore that happiness on his sleeve in the season opener, a game where he logged 40 defensive snaps. He recorded three tackles and batted down a pass at the line of scrimmage, jubilantly celebrating both his individual success and each time a teammate made a positive play.

“That’s who I’ve always been,” Buggs said. “I love the game of football and just getting a fresh start, in a new system, with a new team, I’m happy here. I’m going to give this team and these coaches everything I have, every down. I owe that to them for giving my an opportunity to be here.”

And while not much went right defensively for the Lions in the 38-35 loss to Philadelphia, Glenn was encouraged by what he saw from his new defensive lineman.

“He did pop out on the tape, so we expect that player to be a huge part of what we’re doing as far as going forward,” Glenn said.


Twitter: @Justin_Rogers

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