Detroit Lions: Nick Fairley Wins Starting Defensive Tackle Spot (VIDEO)


Nick Fairley has finally seen the error of his ways since losing his starting job last month and is rewarded with the progress that he’s made to become a better football player.

Due to a lack of consistency on the field and motivation to perform at a high level, newly head coach Jim Caldwell had enough and demoted Fairley to the second stringers to send a message to the 26-year old.

Even with the Detroit Lions deciding to not pick up his option for 2015 couldn’t propel the defensive tackle to elevate his game for this season, which ultimately saw the former Auburn Tiger falling down on the depth chart.

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Coming out of college, Fairley was a monster in the trenches with the SEC powerhouse. After transferring to Auburn in 2009, Fairley recorded 88 tackles with 27.5 coming for a loss. He also had 13 sacks and one interception in two seasons down south.

He was also the recipient of the Lombardi award his junior year and the defensive player of the game following the national championship game in 2011.

The Alabama native was known for his reckless behavior in college, which resulted in him garnering the reputation of a dirty player.

Despite starting in 15 games with the Lions last season, it wasn’t a guarantee that Fairley would automatically get his starting role back, considering that Caldwell has a different coaching philosophy compared to Jim Schwartz.

However, it’s without a doubt that the 2013-14 campaign was a career year for Fairley, in which he racked up 22 tackles and six sacks. His moment in the sun came in week 10 in which he stuffed running back Matt Forte of the Chicago Bears on a two-point conversion in the fourth quarter to seal the victory on the road.

Since being forced to play alongside the second stringers, Fairley has turned his life around on-and-off the field. His improvement during the four preseason games as skyrocketed and he’s even hired a personal chef to help him stay at an ideal weight.

According to Josh Katzenstein of the Detroit News, Fairley weighed in at 315 pounds at the time of his demotion and has since dropped to 305 as of Monday.

Fellow defensive lineman Jason Jones told reporters that he’s impressed with Fairley’s work ethic this offseason and that he’s back to where he should be for the first week of the season.

If Fairley wants to keep playing in Detroit, he must stay consistent on the line for the duration of the season to convince the Lions that he deserves a contract extension.