Showing the rooks what -- and who -- it's all about

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Terry Foster of the Detroit News highlights something very cool and under-the-radar that Lions Coach Jim Schwartz recently did -- and apparently hoped would remain a secret.

Schwartz took top Lions draft choices Matthew Stafford, Brandon Pettigrew and Louis Delmas to the Dearborn Truck Assembly Plant, where they sat for two hours and signed autographs, took photos and passed out Lions gear to surprised workers.

He wanted this to be part of his players' education on the NFL and the city of Detroit.

Schwartz is a different cat. After a month of planning, he took his high-profile rookies to meet the rank-and-file. His goal was to do more than just spread good will to Ford employees. He wanted his rookies to touch hands with regular people in Detroit. He wanted them to see the hardened Rouge plant that has pumped out thousands of cars and trucks over the years.

"The other day, Dominic Raiola talked about how he fell in love with the city," Schwartz said by phone from Maryland. "He said how much he loves the people and I thought it was important for these guys to experience the same feel and things like that. We did not want cameras there because we thought it would have ruined the whole dynamic of it."

Schwartz, 43, wants his rookies grounded ... "We wanted them to know who they were playing for," Schwartz said. "We wanted them to meet the people who were paying their paychecks."

I think this is just fantastic. If Schwartz handles football games as well as he's handled the other stuff so far, 0-16 will soon become a very distant memory.

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