Detroit Lions Center, Dominic Raiola said the team’s decision to draft his eventual replacement in the third round of the NFL Draft wasn’t a shot to his pride. In fact, the long time Lion is ready to go out and help groom and prepare is heir apparent in Detroit.
After an appearance at TAP restaurant at MGM casino on Monday night, Raiola had this to say:
“Not really, I feel more respected by this, just because that it’s going to take some time; they said it’s going to take some time to get somebody (ready). It’s, ‘Hey, let’s go out and play and work together and get him ready.’ I’m going to be 36 years old.”
Raiola experienced what was considered the best season of his 13 year career last season. This coming after a humbling offseason where the Lions center was forced to take a pay cut to return to the team. Raiola’s resurgence is a large part of why the Lions offensive line was the most improved part of the team last year.
Raiola signed another one-year deal this offseason, but the veteran will turn 36-years-old before the season gets underway, and even he knows that he can’t play forever.
A four-year starter at the University of Arkansas, Swanson is a big-body guy who could play guard at the NFL level. However the former Razorback drew mixed reviews for his performance at the position during the Senior Bowl.
“I want to get him ready, make sure he’s ready to go, and he knows what he has to do. He knows he’s coming in, he’s willing to learn. Just being — he’s going to be one of the top seven, eight linemen in there, and if something happens in the interior, who knows?”
The Lions return all five starters to the offensive this year, and barring an injury, Swanson is expected to be the swing interior lineman this fall.
While Raiola has said that he would like to play two or three more seasons in Detroit, the transition could come sooner than he would prefer if Swanson plays well this year.