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Lions Fans Having Emotions Thought to be Long Lost

It has been a long time. A long time since the Detroit Lions fans have had reasons to feel the way they do now. It is a feeling that has been missing for so long they have forgotten what it even feels like. It is a feeling of hope.

Hope had been fading year after year since the Lions lost to the Washington Redskins 41 to 10 in the NFC Championship in 1991. A large chunk of hope was lost in 1999 when the fans learned Barry Sanders, the most electrifying running back in NFL history decided to retire. The last threads of hope faded away as Matt Millen repeatedly drafted players who would end up as busts in the NFL and then in 2008, when the Lions became the first team to ever finish the season winless (o-16), hope was something many thought would never exist again. Not for a Lions fan.

One of the more common sayings I have heard from those fans without hope was... "The Lions are bad, they have always been bad and they always will be bad." There were calls from radio stations for fans to choose a new team to be their favorite teams.

I cannot count how many times I have had to laugh along with someone making fun of the fact I would wear a Lions coat and a Lions hat. They would be amazed to find out I never liked the hats I found, so I had one made up in the style I liked. I was not one of those who believed the Lions would never be good. I always believed that someday they would be great, but I feared it would not be in my lifetime.

Today there is hope again. The fans are feeling more excitement than they have in decades and the Lions havent even played one preseason game yet. That hope comes from the aggressiveness that GM - Martin Mayhew, and coach Jim Schwartz has shown in the off-season with free agents.

On the first day of free agency the fans learned of the Lions acquiring DE, Kyle Vanden Bosch and WR Nate Burleson, along with the trade to get DT Corey Williams and a 7th round pick for a 5th round pick. Not too many days later the Lions signed CB Jonathan Wade, a fast player who will help with depth in a position the Lions were hurting in. Then they gave the Falcons a 5th and a 6th round pick for CB Chris Houston and a 5th round pick. Chris Houston is expected to be a much faster CB who will start for the Lions.

Soon after, the Lions addressed their back-up QB spot by trading with the 49ers. The Lions gave them a 2011 7th round pick for Shaun Hill.

Recently the Lions gave up a 5th round pick in this years draft to the Seattle Seahawks for LG Rob Sims.

In a couple of short weeks the Lions have acquired two starting Defensive linemen, both who have a history of double digit sacks, a wide receiver who might open things up for Calvin Johnson, a starting cornerback with speed and a left guard who should stabilize the revolving door at the position in recent years, and added a decent back-up quarterback.

This coming on the heels of a 2-14 season that had the bright spots of two rookie defensive players, S- Louis Delmas and MLB- DeAndre Levy, who both showed signs of greatness. Along with Delmas and Levy were three other rookies who showed flashes they could all be very good in the near future. QB- Matthew Stafford, TE- Brandon Pettigrew and DT- Sammie Lee Hill.

Now the Lions are heading into the NFL Draft with the #2 overall pick. With the Rams releasing of Mark Bulger, it is all but definite that they will draft QB- Sam Bradford, leaving the Lions with what most experts believe is the best defensive tackle to come out of college in may year, Ndamukong Suh. Adding Suh would likely give the Lions one of the best defensive lines in the NFL and a huge improvement in the pass rush.

The 2010 draft is one of the deepest drafts in memory and the Lions should be able to fill a few of their holes with quality players.

Any way you look at it, the Detroit Lions are already a much improved team on paper and Mayhew has shown he knows how to judge talent as well as make trades that cost the Lions very little.

The Lions may not be good yet, but the moves the Lions have made have given fans a reason to hope. To hope that the future may actually be brighter than we have seen in a long time.

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