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Glover Quin Asked Lions To Release Him Last Offseason To Return To Texans

He was hoping to finish his career where it started.

February 21, 2019 - 6:43 pm
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Glover Quin's release last week didn't come as much of a surprise. But a year ago? That would have been a shocker. And if Quin had his way, that's how it would have gone down. 

Knowing the Lions were heading in a new direction with Matt Patricia, Quin asked the team to release him last offseason. In an ideal world, he would have returned to Houston to finish his career where it started and spend more time with his wife and their three sons.

"I actually tried to get out of my contract going into the season, because I just knew it was going to get to this point. I could see it," Quin told the Pride Podcast in his first public comments since being released. "I knew it was going to happen. I understand the business of football and I knew we were going to get to this point, so I was just trying to stop it before it even got started." 

Quin was released by the Lions last Friday in a move that saved the team $6.25 million against the cap. He had one year left on the two-year, $13 million extension he signed in 2017. At the time he signed the extension, he said he knew this outcome was possible. 

"Even when I signed my extension, I had already said, I’m gonna have to come off an All-Pro or Pro Bowl type of year to get the last year of my deal because I'm gonna be 33, I was counting almost $8 million against the cap. That's a lot of money. So I knew if I wasn’t playing, if I didn’t make All-Pro or lead the league in interceptions or something like that where it would look funny, 'Wow, you guys cut an All-Pro safety,' if I didn't have that type of year I knew that would probably be happening," Quin said.

Things came further into focus when the team drafted fellow safety Tracy Walker last year, then gave Walker an expanded role as the season went along. And Quin didn't help his own cause by having a down season, including zero interceptions for the first time in his six-year Lions career.

"For them to draft Tracy and Tracy to play well and me not have the type of year that I've had in the past, I knew something was gonna happen. It was not surprising," Quin said. "I'm actually kind of glad it happened when it happened. They had all the way up to the new league year to make a decision, so for them to do it as early as they did is kudos to them. I didn’t know that the call was going to come on Friday. I’m sitting on the couch and then all of a sudden I see Bob Quinn shows up on my phone. I'm like 'Oh, okay, here we go.' I answered it, and like I said, I knew what it was so it wasn’t like it was a surprise to me." 

As for Quin's request last offseason, he knew the Lions weren't likely to grant it. For starters, he was coming off a Pro Bowl season and was still very much the leader of the defense. What's more, he knew the team would want him around to help groom Walker and first-year safety Quandre Diggs. But Quin decided to ask for his release anyway, just to know he tried. 

"I knew that they wasn’t going to do that last year, but for me as a person, I just didn’t want to go into the year not even asking the question to see," Quin said. "It was kind of this thing where if I ask them and they tell me no, okay, that’s cool. But what if they would have told me yeah? What if they would have felt the same way? 'Okay, yeah, we’re going to go in a different direction. If you don’t want to be a part of it, we’ll give you an opportunity to move on. We’ve got some clauses, we can get out of the contract,' all that good stuff. What if they would have said that?

"So for me it was kind of just like, 'Okay, I know they’re not going to do it, but I at least have to ask just to feel good with myself.' But when they drafted Tracy, I knew that’s what they would want (for me to mentor him). This was Quandre’s first year at safety, so just having somebody that can help and guide the way and get those guys ready, give them a year to develop, I knew that would be what they wanted. I was cool with it.”

Quin spent his first season in Detroit under Jim Schwartz, then the next four under Jim Caldwell. He thrived in Caldwell's system, and the two shared a close relationship. When the Lions fired Caldwell after the 2017 season to hire Patricia, Quin felt compelled to return to Houston. He'd be playing for a new coach in 2018 one way or another, he figured, so he might as well play close to home. 

"We went 9-7 two years back to back and then all of a sudden they bring in a new coach, and it's like, 'Okay, we’re going to turn this thing around.' Knowing the New England way, knowing the new system, knowing how they play defense, knowing how they do things, I knew, okay, the way things had been, they’re (going) in a totally different direction," Quin said. "ot necessarily starting over and rebuilding, because we had a lot of good pieces, but I knew that they were about to take the organization in a totally different direction.

"So for me, at that point in my career, I was like, okay, I really don’t want to start over in Detroit because this is how I had come to know Detroit, this is how I had felt with Detroit in my years (there). My family lives in Houston, I was really missing being around my family, so I was just like, okay, if I’m gonna have to start over with a new coach anyway, at least give me an opportunity to see if I can re-sign in Houston. ... But it all worked out, played through the year, didn’t get the job done and this is what happened." 

Looking ahead, Quin isn't sure what's next. His goal entering the NFL was to play 10 seasons, and he reached that number in 2018. He hasn't decided if he wants to play another. 

"I feel great about my career right now, so I’m in a good situation," said Quin. "I’ll see probably what happens, what opportunities may be out there. If it’s something that I feel like I want to do, something that I feel like may make sense for myself and my family I may entertain it, and if it’s not then I’ll call it a career. But I haven’t decided yet. I’m just kind of hanging out right now.

"It’s kind of funny because I tried Starbucks today for, like, the first time, had a cinnamon shortbread frappuccino. I put it on my Instagram story, and my trainer messaged me and was like, "#sugar," and I sent him one back and was like "#unemployed." It’s the first time in 10 years, man, that I’ve been unemployed. Friday will be a week, so just sitting back and relaxing, man. Not rushing to any decisions right now."