Ndamukong Suh earned his first ring in 2021. Matthew Stafford won a championship last February. Now, Darius Slay is two wins away from joining his former Detroit Lions teammates on the list of Super Bowl champions.
Slay is the most prominent of more than a dozen ex-Lions still left in the NFL playoffs after his Philadelphia Eagles beat the New York Giants in an NFC divisional game Saturday.
Slay made five tackles and had one pass breakup in a dominating 38-7 win over the Giants, and after the game he gushed about the “electric” atmosphere during his first career playoff victory.
“That shit was mind-blowing,” Slay said, via video posted on Twitter by CBS Sports. “This is the shit I live for, this is my type of game, this is what I’m ready for. So I went out there and like, man, I felt like all 80,000 of us were playing together.”
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The Eagles host the San Francisco 49ers this weekend, with the winner headed to the Super Bowl. No matter who wins, ex-Lions will be well represented in the game.
Suh joined the Eagles in mid-November and is pursuing his second Super Bowl ring, and the 49ers have four ex-Lions assistants and two ex-Lions players on their coaching staff.
Here’s a list of the most prominent ex-Lions still alive in the NFL playoffs:
Lions fans were generally happy to see Stafford hoist the Lombardi Trophy with the Los Angeles Rams last winter, and sentiment surely will be similar if Slay wins a ring with the Eagles this year. A fan favorite in his time in Detroit, Slay has made two Pro Bowls in three seasons in Philadelphia since being pushed out of town by Matt Patricia. He’s a key player on the Eagles’ well-round roster, and his success is another reminder of what could have been with the Lions.
Suh is chasing his second Super Bowl in three seasons after winning one with the Buccaneers and Tom Brady in 2020. Suh said after the birth of his twins he wanted two rings, so he could give one to each. If that happens, the last Lion to win Rookie of the Year could walk away from the NFL at 36 years old with a resume worthy of Hall of Fame consideration.
Siposs, who once lost a training camp battle with Jack Fox for the Lions’ punting job, is on injured reserve for the Eagles will not play in Sunday’s NFC title game. The Eagles also have ex-Lions practice squad cornerback Andre Chachere on their practice squad, and former Lions offensive line coach Jeremiah Washburn is the team’s defensive ends/outside linebackers coach.
A year after he was fired as Lions offensive coordinator, Lynn is on the verge of reaching the Super Bowl as 49ers assistant head coach/running backs coach. Lynn is one of six 49ers assistants with Lions ties: Kris Kocurek, the 49ers’ well-respected defensive line coach, held the same position with the Lions in 2009-17; ex-Lions safety Daniel Bullocks is San Francisco’s safeties coach; ex-Lions defensive lineman Darryl Tapp is an assistant defensive line coach under Kocurek, his former position coach; ex-Lions defensive coordinator Cory Undlin is the team’s defensive pass game specialist/secondary coach; and one-time Lions defensive assistant Johnny Holland is the 49ers’ linebackers coach.
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One of Kocurek’s biggest success stories in Detroit, Hyder spent parts of four seasons with the Lions (2015-18) and had a team-high eight sacks in 2016. He played in 16 regular season games for the 49ers this season and had one tackle in Sunday’s win over the Dallas Cowboys.
Johnson’s journeyman NFL career has taken him to 14 NFL teams, including a brief stop with the Lions in 2019. He joined the 49ers for the fourth time in his career late in the season, after Jimmy Garoppolo’s foot injury.
Barrett joined the Lions as an undrafted free agent in 2017 and played two games with the team over parts of two seasons. He’s on the 49ers practice squad now and was elevated to the game day roster on Sunday, but did not play.
Parker won’t play in Sunday’s NFC championship game or the Super Bowl, but already has signed a future’s deal with the 49ers after splitting this season between the Lions’ practice squad and active roster.
A fifth-round pick by the Lions in 2015, Burton is in his second season as Kansas City’s fullback. He played two offensive snaps and 15 special teams snaps in Saturday’s win over the Jacksonville Jaguars and had five carries for 7 yards in the regular season.
Cullen was a young Lions assistant in 2006 when he was arrested for driving drunk and naked in a Wendy’s drive-thru. He said in a 2018 interview with Sports Illustrated he’s sober, and he’s gone on to become one of the best defensive line coaches in the NFL. Like Kocurek, Cullen coaches one of the league’s top pass rush units, and after being part of some good teams with the Baltimore Ravens (2016-20) he has a chance to win his first ring. Two more ex-Lions, nose tackle Danny Shelton and kicker Matthew Wright, are on the Chiefs’ practice squad.
Contact Dave Birkett at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @davebirkett.