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Monday, August 15, 2016

Lions' Riley Reiff breaks silence on being asked to play right tackle




Riley Reiff has broken his silence about being asked to move from left to right tackle in a contract year. (Mike Mulholland | MLive.com)

By Kyle Meinke

August 13, 2016

ALLEN PARK -- Riley Reiff had played one position his entire pro career. Then the Detroit Lions asked him to learn a new one just as he was entering a contract year.

A position that typically pays less money.

It's a move that could cost him millions.

But he's not thinking of it that way.

"As a group, we're just trying to get guys in position," Reiff said in his first comments since making the position change to right tackle in OTAs. "We're trying to work hard every day, clean up mental errors. It's all about the group, really. We're just trying to have a better season than last year."

The Lions selected Ohio State's Taylor Decker in the first round of the draft to be their left tackle, and immediately moved Reiff, a fifth-year veteran, to the right side.

Was Reiff's pride hurt by the selection, or by being asked to change positions because of a rookie -- and doing so right when his contract was coming up?

"I'm not here to get into that," he said. "I'm here to help the team win games, and you guys know who I am. I'm just trying to make the group a better group, and play hard, and get better, and put a year together we can all be proud of."

Reiff never wavered from that message in his 10 minute chat with reporters. He's tired of losing, and he's tired of the offensive line being a punch line, and he's willing to do anything to help the greater good of the team.

Those are cliches that are thrown around a lot in sports, but by all accounts, they really do apply with Reiff. He's attacked his re-assignment with everything he has this offseason, including putting in extra work in the film room and weight room to prepare for the transition.

And all that work has paid off with what appears to be the best training camp of his career.

Reiff has won the vast majority of his one-on-one matchups -- a drill that is supposed to favor the defensive lineman -- and he was a rock in Detroit's 30-17 exhibition win Friday night against Pittsburgh.


For a unit facing so many question marks heading into the season, his maturation is highly valuable.

"(He's done) extremely well," coach Jim Caldwell said. "Very consistent, outstanding in terms of his leadership. I can't say enough good things about him -- he's really been excellent."

Reiff,
though, deflected all questions about his own personal growth in camp, preferring to again shift the spotlight back to the offensive line as a whole, which is trying to bounce back from two tough seasons.

"We're judged as a group," he said. "I keep saying this, and I don't mean to sound like a broken record, but we're trying to improve and do the techniques we're taught. We're trying to help the team win games."

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