NFL Hall of Famer Blasts Matt Patricia Over Relationship With Darius Slay

Matt Patricia

Getty Matt Patricia before a game with Kenny Wiggins.

Matt Patricia is catching plenty of heat for his handling of star cornerback Darius Slay, and that topic has been hot in recent days with former NFL players.

Hall of Fame tight end and Fox Sports pundit Shannon Sharpe doesn’t think Patricia handled things properly with his top player at all, and doesn’t think he is running the Detroit Lions properly. Recently, while debating Skip Bayless on Undisputed, Sharpe explained that in his mind, Patricia was severely in the wrong when it came to how he handled Slay.

“Why would you go there and immediately try to tear the guy down? Because that’s an ego trip. It’s my show now,” Sharpe said. “This is the same Matt Patricia that over the last 2 years has kept his job and has as many wins as Jim Caldwell had that he got fired for. He won 9 games in 2 years, Jim Caldwell got fired for being 9-7. A year before, he made the playoffs.”

As Sharpe explained, he believes Patricia should have taken a softer tone with Slay, and instead of coming at him harshly, should have tried to build him up instead of break him down. He relayed a story from his time with Mike Shanahan in Denver where the coach asked him to become a better blocker to take his whole game to the next level.

“Guys don’t care what you did in New England. Can you help me get better? By beating me down, it’s not helping me get better. It’s going to make me despise you and tune you out and not listen to anything you say,” he said.

As a whole, Sharpe explained that it’s on Patricia to change how he interacts with players moving forward so that these issues don’t continue to persist.

“I don’t know where these guys think they can come in and just talk. Matt Patricia, you need to understand. Now I know how Coach Belichick, he treats everyone the same. You can’t do that. You’re not Coach Belichick,” he explained.

We’ll have to see if Patricia changes his style, or if the dustup with Slay was merely one thing which happened and an isolated incident.

Dan Orlovsky Also Criticizes Matt Patricia

It seems everyone has a take on what the Lions have done with Slay, and their former quarterback Dan Orlovsky thinks that the problem was actually on the end of Matt Patricia and not necessarily Slay himself. Following the trade of Slay to the Philadelphia Eagles, Orlovsky sounded off on ESPN and said that the team’s problem might be more related to Patricia as head coach rather than any players.

Here’s a look at what Orlovsky had to say:

In addition to what’s going on within the team, Orlovsky admitted he will always root for the Lions, but said the team must start to nail all of their draft picks this coming season, and there is very little exception.

Obviously, Orlovsky is beginning to lose patience with the Lions as much as several of their fans are.

Darius Slay Explains Relationship With Matt Patricia

After Slay was sent away to the Eagles, he stopped by WJR-760 AM and spoke about the experience. As expected, he held nothing back as it relates to his old team and his old boss Matt Patricia. It’s safe to say that Slay didn’t exactly have the best exit with the team that drafted him.

Slay and Patricia’s relationship was explored, and here’s some of the best takeaways from the interview.

A few more specifics on that incident were provided by Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press, who explained in a piece that the dustup occurred during a team meeting in which Slay’s feelings were hurt by Patricia, and a comment he made.

“He told me in front of the whole team, in the team meeting room, showed clips of me in practice getting a ball caught on me or so in practice,” Slay said. “I posted a picture (of a wide receiver on social media), and he told me, stop sucking this man’s private. So I’m like, ‘Whoa.’ I’m like, ‘Hold up.’ Where I’m from, that don’t fly. Cause I wouldn’t say that to him. I wouldn’t say to him to stop you know what to Bill Belichick. I wouldn’t do that. That’s just not me as a man. That’s disrespectful to me and so from there on it was done with.”

In the same piece, Patricia responded to Slay’s comments and provided his side of the story:

“Over the last two seasons, Darius and I have had multiple conversations in private that I believed were constructive and satisfactory,” the statement read. “My discussions with athletes are confidential and I won’t comment on anything discussed with our players in a team meeting. I appreciate his hard work and wish he and his family all the success in Philadelphia.”

Obviously, the duo never saw eye to eye and couldn’t agree in the end, which is why the likelihood of a deal playing out was always strong. Everybody who paid attention realized that for some reason, things had gone south and the only real solution was a trade.

Everyone finally knows the reason, and now that it’s out, former players have a good idea how Patricia should have handled things in hindsight.

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