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Ebron Says Lions Need To "Listen To Their Players"

Just a little advice for his former team.

February 04, 2019 - 6:56 pm
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Eric Ebron used to beg for more red zone targets during his days with the Lions. 

“I begged everybody. Everybody," Ebron said during an interview at the Super Bowl with the Free Press. A lot of people knew it, but it is what it is.”

He finally got those targets this season with the Colts, and caught 13 touchdowns -- tied for second in the NFL. His Pro Bowl campaign was the product of being part of an offensive system that maximized his skills. 

So when asked about his time with the Lions, it's not a surprise Ebron said the organization needs to do a better job of listening to its players. 

"There’s a lot of things they can do for their players better, and that’s coming from someone that’s been there four years," said Ebron. "And build. Just build. Build upon your players, listen to your players and hear what they want because we’re the ones playing the game and we need a little bit more help over there, or they need a little bit more help over there.”

While Ebron didn't overlap with current head coach Matt Patricia, he did spend two seasons under general manager Bob Quinn. He also played two and a half seasons under offensive coordinator Jim Bob Cooter, who won't be back next season. He intimated frustration with Cooter in the past. 

Pressed for more on his comments, Ebron said, “Just listen to their players. They’ll understand exactly what I mean, at least the players will understand what I mean. Just listen to the players, man. The players play, and if there’s some things that can help their game, do it.”

Ebron wound up on the Colts after being released last March by the Lions, who decided he wasn't worth his $8.25 million. His 13 receiving touchdowns this season were two more than he produced over four seasons in Detroit. 

On top of his different role with the Colts, Ebron enjoyed a different quarterback in Andrew Luck. But he was deferential to Matthew Stafford when comparing the two. 

“They’re both really smart. They’re both like really, really great football minds. Andrew’s just like — and I’m not going to take anything away from Stafford — but Andrew’s a general, man,” Ebron said. “And Stafford was the same way, he command his huddle, he did that. But it’s just something about just Andrew being Andrew.

"Stafford is his own person, Andrew is his own person, but Andrew’s just a general. Everyone listens, everyone understands. He makes sure everyone’s on the same page. No one makes mistakes. And that’s really what took us from 1-5 to a 9-1 streak until the playoffs because we all decided to get on the same page, be a team and we made things happen.”

For Ebron, it was a season a long time in the making. He said his trials in Detroit were ultimately for the best.

“I grew a lot, learned a lot,” Ebron said. “I would never change anything that I went through in Detroit. Never. It made me the person who I am today and now I realize football is really a game and you’ve just got to have fun with it.”