The Detroit Lions made the decision to ultimately release Damon Harrison from the roster this week, and the choice wasn’t an easy one for the team considering what Harrison meant to the defense up front.
Still, the Lions saw something within the tape during their evaluation that they did not like. As a result, it became easy for them to make the decision to move on from Harrison when all is said and done. Matt Patricia and Bob Quinn spoke at the NFL Combine, with Patricia commenting that he respects Harrison and based on conversations, it was a joint decision to move on.
As it relates to Quinn, the general manager said that he evaluated everything and made the decision to move on after a 2019 production dive. Simple as that.
Harrison joined the Lions at the trade deadline a few years ago, and it was a bit stunning to see things end as abruptly as it did. That’s just what happened in this case.
Damon Harrison Shared Classy Statement After Release
Classy to the end, Harrison shared a statement with Lions fans that showed just how much the last few years meant to him. Even though Harrison didn’t get to spend long in the Motor City, it was clear that his experience there managed to be a very positive one.
In the statement, Harrison explained why his experience was so special and he thanked fans for their support, saying he would miss their interactions with him.
Harrison, classy to the end, provided one last look of this to Lions fans upon his exit. It was certainly nice to see.
Damon Harrison Pondered Retirement
Harrison, who was acquired in the 2018 season for a fifth round draft pick, might have also been pondering retirement this offseason. While he said earlier this offseason that his mind is not made up at this point, Harrison was apparently emotional about the looming decision in the locker room after Week 17’s finale against the Green Bay Packers.
Here’s a look at what Harrison had to say:
It was a surprise to see Harrison pondering retirement, considering he played well for the Lions in 2018. 2019 was a challenge with health and otherwise for Harrison, but he is still an elite stuffer in the middle of the line at 31 years old. Seemingly, he would still have enough left physically to the naked eye to compete.
Perhaps mentally and emotionally, Harrison was worn out from the season. It’s possible a new challenge could get him going, and now that it sounds as if he is ready to play another season, that could be the case.
Damon Harrison Explains 2019 Season
Arguably, Harrison changed Detroit’s run defense himself in 2018, taking a group which was average and turning it into a group which was very stout up front as well as gritty.
This past season, though, things didn’t go as planned Harrison got off to a slow start with the Lions and never really recovered. He and his team have been run over in the early season up front and aren’t stopping the run with consistency at all. As a whole, the group has been very below average and have been pushed around in the trenches so far this season. It’s something plenty are disappointed about, including Harrison.
So what’s been the problem? Harrison seems to think teams are bodying him up as much as they ever have, which isn’t an excuse, but something the lineman must account for.
“I would just say teams are doing a good job of making sure I’m accounted for. That hasn’t stopped me in the past and I don’t see why it should stop me now,” Harrison told the media about his slow start to the 2019 season.
Did they play him any differently? Perhaps not exactly.
“I wouldn’t say differently. They’re just doing a good job of getting me off some things I am struggling with now,” he said a few months back, declining to mention what things those were specifically.
As Harrison battled health struggles down the stretch every single week, he couldn’t help the team’s defense get over the hump in the end.
In the end, he will now be leaving the Lions, and will likely join another team this offseason. The decision to move on had plenty to do with what the team perceives Harrison could offer them this season.