Damon Harrison Explains Reason He Didn’t Fit Lions Defense

Damon Harrison

Getty Damon Harrison interviewed during the Super Bowl.

When the Detroit Lions added Damon Harrison a few years ago during the NFL trade deadline, most assumed the fit would be a slam dunk for the team’s defense given their need for a clogger in the middle of the line.

Still, that’s not how Harrison himself saw things even if he had some immediate success on the field with the team. After being traded to the Lions, Harrison had some reservations, and quickly realized he wasn’t excited to play with the team given the scheme they were asking him to fit.

Harrison recently joined the Green Light Podcast with Chris Long to provide his take, and explained some of the ins and the outs of what he felt when he was traded to the Lions. As it stands, the Lions didn’t exactly give Harrison a chance to do what he did best.

“When I got there it was fresh, it was new. I was a bit angry. To be completely honest, I didn’t want to go to Detroit. Because of some things I had heard from some guys in the past and some guys who were there. When I got the call that that’s where I was traded, I didn’t answer the phone for a couple hours,” he said. “Bob Quinn was calling me, and I didn’t pick up the phone because I was trying to figure out a way to get out of it. So when I got there, I didn’t know anything about the scheme. I was a nose tackle my entire career, 1 technique, shade, zero, some 2 wide. I get there, it’s 2, 3 techniques. For me in my career, the most frightening thing is playing 3 technique because of how far back the guards would sit. I thought I would have to stand up because I’m not much of a get off guy. When I got there and found out I was playing three technique, I tried to get out of it. We had some conversations about not doing it anymore. They kind of incorporated some of that zero nose, shade in there to kind of fit my play style. But it was something I was not comfortable with.”

Even after some success in his first few games with Detroit where he’d finish with 50 tackles and 3.5 sacks, Harrison admitted that he might have gotten a bit complacent and realized immediately in 2019 that he wanted out.

“The next year, I think (the early success) kind of came back to bite me. I wasn’t prepared for the season mentally,” he said. “I came into camp in shape, but during the first three weeks of camp I think I kind of worked myself out of shape because I wasn’t doing anything. That was a time where to be honest with you we were trying to facilitate a trade. I was hell-bent on getting out of there, and it was nothing against the people of Detroit, the city or anything like that. I will forever love the city of Detroit. I just had to go try and put myself in a position where I saw myself there for two or three years to end my career, and I just didn’t see myself in Detroit for that long.”

Indeed, Harrison was released this offseason and it was a mutual decision which was likely born out of the fact that Harrison just never felt comfortable within the team’s defense.

It might have been a significant error by Bob Quinn to add a player who didn’t fit his team’s scheme, even if there was a perceived fit and a desperation to fill a need. The good news for the team at least for now? With Danny Shelton on board, there’s not likely to be any lingering effects of this and the team might have a player who fits the plan better.

Damon Harrison’s Release Explanation Revealed

When looking at the tape, the Lions have maintained 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, but the good news is apparently there are no hard feelings on Harrison’s side in terms of the front office even as the team tried to force Harrison into a scheme he wasn’t comfortable with.

It seems that is exactly what happened when all was said and done.

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 that be the case, and nice to hear there are no bad feelings between the player and the staff at this point in time.

It seems that the fit was just never that good in the end for the player and the team.

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