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News » Detroit Lions Notes, Quotes 2009-03-20

Detroit Lions Notes, Quotes 2009-03-20

Detroit Lions Notes, Quotes 2009-03-20
--Mayhew said Peterson's acquisition does not change the Lions' draft plans. Wake Forest's Aaron Curry is still a candidate to be the No. 1 pick, even though he played outside linebacker in college and the Lions now have Peterson and Ernie Sims. If the Lions draft Curry, he will play the middle. "We've seen Aaron," Mayhew said. "We're familiar with Aaron. We've watched a lot of tape of Aaron. Our scouts have. Our coaches have. We've investigated. We've talked about it. We feel very comfortable he can come in and start at (middle linebacker). If we drafted Aaron, we think he can start at (middle linebacker) from Day One."

--Redding's departure doesn't open a hole at defensive tackle as first thought, because the Lions planned to play him at left end on running downs and tackle on passing downs. "We needed a tackle before this, and we still need a tackle," Mayhew said.

--Daunte Culpepper doesn't look like the same quarterback who played last season at more than 290 pounds after coming out of semi-retirement. "He looks like a new man," center Dominic Raiola said. "He looks brand-new. The guy's really taken this re-signing serious and this job serious, his job at the quarterback position serious." Raiola said Culpepper has lost "at least 20 pounds, but it's not like he lost muscle. It looks like he's been working."

--Quarterback Drew Stanton knows he has a lot to prove. But he said he is looking forward to the chance to reestablish himself within the organization. Asked if he really thought he had a realistic chance, he said: "Definitely. I definitely have a chance. I was drafted here first of all, and they want to see me try and do something successful. Being a second-round pick, they want to see some kind of return on that investment. So from that standpoint alone, I think they're going to give me a fair shot." Stanton was a second-round pick in 2007. But he has had little practice time, let alone playing time, because of injuries and other issues.

--The Lions are unlikely to experiment with Jeff Backus at guard early in off-season workouts to see if he can handle the move. "I would be very surprised if we saw Backus as anything other than a left tackle before the draft," Schwartz said. "That doesn't mean that you don't draft a left tackle." Schwartz said the rookie could play guard and move to tackle later.

--Raiola sees a difference now that Mayhew has replaced president Matt Millen. "We'll see in the future, but from what I see right now, there's no favoritism," Raiola said. "Everybody's a clean slate. Nobody's getting babied. It's not like how it was when Matt was here. Nobody's going to get babied." Asked to expand on that, Raiola said: "How it was in the past, I think there were different people on different pedestals. I think right now everybody's looked at the same. Nobody's going to be better than this guy because of what you're getting paid."

--The Lions have told Raiola's agent they would like to sign him to a contract extension, but the sides have not negotiated. "There's no numbers," Raiola said. "There's just saying they want to get me done."

--The Lions signed tight end Will Heller to a one-year contract. Heller, who left Seattle, replaces John Owens, who signed with the Seahawks. "Hopefully I can come in and contribute from a blocking standpoint," Heller said. "That's kind of been my role everywhere I've been. Wherever they need me. I try to be versatile." Heller caught four passes for 29 yards in 12 games last year. Owens caught eight passes for 56 yards in a touchdown in 16 games.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "Every time you get somebody new, you want to say, 'This is the guy, finally.' I've said that before. I just want to let everything play out and do everything, not look ahead, learn more about these guys every day and kind of build our trust with them." - Center Dominic Raiola, who has seen a lot of coaches come and go since 2001, on new coach Jim Schwartz.

Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: March 20, 2009

Dominic Raiola Name: Dominic Raiola
Position: C
Age: 29
Experience: 8 years
College: Nebraska
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