Friday, February 14, 2014
The Lions had to release Burleson and Delmas in order to give the team to Stafford and Suh
Many may look at yesterday's release of Nate Burleson and Louis Delmas as puzzling moves, especially since both expressed a willingness to return at restructured salaries and their status as the team's unquestioned leaders on offense and defense.
Ironically, it was their strong leadership that forced the Lions to release them.
In order for franchise players Mathew Stafford and Ndamukong Suh to reach their full potential, this has to become their team, and that was never going to fully happen with strong leaders like Burleson and Delmas on the roster.
With no veteran presence left in the locker room to defer to after their releases, this team instantly falls under the control of Stafford on offense, and Suh on defense.
It will now be up to those two players to learn their new playbooks, lead offseason workouts, and bridge the gap between the new coaching staff and the rest of team.
If Stafford and Suh embrace those roles and their teammates respond, they'll be the face of the franchise for years to come. And if not...Well, let's try not to think about that.