Ebron Declines To Take Shot At Lions: "I'll Be The Bigger Person"

He's getting the last laugh with the Colts.

Will Burchfield
November 15, 2018 - 6:20 pm

© Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Categories: 

Shortly after being released by the Lions and then signing with the Colts last March, Eric Ebron explained he chose Indianapolis because Andrew Luck and Colts head coach Frank Reich would get the most out of him. He looks pretty darn smart nine months later. 

Ebron ranks second in the NFL and leads all tight ends with nine receiving touchdowns as he hurtles toward the first Pro Bowl of his career.

The Lions, meanwhile, look foolish. Not only did they cut Ebron to save $8.25 million, but the tight ends they chose to replace him have combined for a measly 22 catches, 202 yards and three touchdowns. 

In an interview Thursday on NFL Network, Ebron was asked what's changed for him in his fifth NFL season. 

"Just being implemented into the offense. They’re allowing me to do the things that I’m really good at. Being a playmaker, making plays and Andrew’s finding me. It’s really as simple as that," he said with a big smile. "I’m just running the schemes and running what they tell me to run, and it’s working." 

The Colts have deployed Ebron as a sniper of sorts, keeping his snap count low but frequently looking his way when he's on the field. In last Sunday's win over the Jaguars he played just 21 offensive snaps and wound up with three touchdowns. 

The biggest difference between Ebron's usage with the Colts and the Lions comes in the red zone. Through nine games, he already has a career-high 13 targets inside the 20. His previous high was 11, over a 16-game season. To no surprise, seven of his nine receiving touchdowns this year have come in the red zone. 

Ebron's inability to live up to his draft pedigree in Detroit, due in part to his consistent issues with drops, led to him taking all kinds of flak from the fans. Now he's getting the last laugh. So, he was asked, would he like to send one last message to the Lions and take a victory lap?

"Nah, man, I’ll be the bigger person," he said. "I’ve had my fair share of harassment, and I’m going to leave them alone."

Well, at least in this case. Ebron generally hasn't held since being cut by the team that drafted him. He threw shade at the Lions on Instagram shortly after signing with the Colts, and called them "horrible people" after they traded Golden Tate last month.

His former teammates seem plenty happy for him. When a group of reporters were discussing Ebron's performance earlier this week in the Lions locker room, veteran safety Tavon Wilson walked by and grinned, "He's ballin'!" Ebron said he keeps in touch with a number of the guys who had his back. 

"Those are my friends," he said. "They hit me up and they’re congratulating me and happy for me because they knew it was (in me). There were a lot of things that were going on at the facility and a lot of things that held me back, but my teammates know the real story. And they’re proud of me." 

That would include safety Glover Quin, who said on Wednesday it was always possible for Ebron to eventually achieve this kind of success. 

"I mean, why not? You're in the red zone, they throw you the ball, you catch it, score a touchdown. I tell you guys this stuff all the time, man. Everybody has the same potential to do certain things, man. We're all in the NFL. Depending on the scheme you're in, what you're being asked to do, who you have around you, all those things matter.

"Anything is possible for anybody, and fortunately for Ebron, he went (to Indianapolis), he's been in a good situation, he's been healthy, he's had opportunities and he's made the most of it. So I don't think that he wasn't capable of doing it." 

While Reich has made the most of Ebron's ability, the coach who was part of the decision to cut him is struggling to find any production from his tight ends. Asked about Ebron earlier this week, Matt Patricia said, “I’m not really sure what he’s doing with the Colts, or what the Colts are doing with him right now." 

Maybe true, probably not. Ebron, for his part, isn't worried about it. 

“He has his own team, a whole team to worry about,” he told the Indianapolis Star, when asked about Patricia's comment. “From what I know, they’re struggling right now, so he has a lot to worry about, a lot on his plate right now. I don’t expect him to know anything about me."