Slay, who was recently speaking before camp opens, was asked about his excitement for his new team and the 2020 season. He provided an honest answer, but it was easy to see it could be construed as another shot at his old team in Detroit and their head coach.
Slay, of course, didn’t leave on great terms with the Lions, and his trainer recently took a shot at Matt Patricia this offseason. This response to the question is par for the course considering Slay didn’t like how Patricia ran the team and what the coach stood for as boss. The duo got into it and butted heads during their time together.
The good news for Slay? He’s been able to move on to a place he now feels better about. The Lions have moved on too, selecting Jeff Okudah with the No. 3 pick in the draft and signing Desmond Trufant. To that end, all’s well that ends well on both sides, even if Slay is still subtly hung up on what happened in Detroit.
Darius Slay Explains Relationship With Matt Patricia
Just 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. Clearly, Slay is no fan of how Patricia runs the team and the cat is out of the bag.
Shannon Sharpe Ripped Matt Patricia’s Handling of Lions
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.
It’s clear Patricia and Slay just weren’t going to agree in this case, and that remains true even after the dust has settled on the deal.