Alex Anzalone: ‘No Better Person’ Than Zach Line to Rally Oxford

Alex Anzalone

Getty Alex Anzalone playing for the Lions on Thanksgiving 2021 against the Bears.

The NFL, it is often said, is a brotherhood between current players and former players, and in no way is that better on display than in Michigan at the current moment in time.

Reeling after a high-school shooting rocked the community of Oxford, Michigan, the Detroit Lions have been sharing their thoughts about the goings on, and a former NFL player in the community is now being forced to deal with the tragedy head-on in a very deep and personal way.

The latest Lions news straight to your inbox! Join the Heavy on Lions newsletter here!

Join Heavy on Lions!

Former NFL fullback Zach Line is the football coach at his alma mater of Oxford High School, and is having to deal with the tragic loss of one of his players in Tate Myre. Myre was one of four students killed in the shooting on Tuesday, November 30, and the community is now left to pick up the pieces after a tragedy.

Lions linebacker Alex Anzalone is a former player for the New Orleans Saints and knew Line from his time in the league when they played together. On Wednesday, December 1, Anzalone confirmed when speaking to the media after practice he had reached out to Line, and even though he had not heard back, he wanted Line to know he supports him.

“I (texted him), he didn’t get back to me obviously, he’s probably dealing with all that. I wanted him to know I am here if he needs anything and what, 45 minutes away,” he said.

Even though Anzalone hadn’t heard from Line as of yet, he wanted folks to know that the coach is in the right situation to make an impact right away.

“I feel there is no better person in that position to really help the community get through a situation like this,” Anzalone said. “I think that as far as a person, a God-faring person. All the things you want in a leader in a situation like this he has. He’s strong and faith-filled so he’ll be able to help the community get through this really bad time.”

Having Line in the mix will undoubtably be an asset for Oxford as they try to rally after a tough time just as Anzalone believes.

Anzalone Describes Line as an NFL Player

Line stayed in the league from 2013-2019, and played with Minnesota and New Orleans. As a fullback, he didn’t put up prolific stats, amassing only 275 total yards and 6 touchdowns. While that is the case, Anzalone describes Line as the type of player and person that could be seen as a rock in this current situation given his personality on and off the field for a team.

“He wasn’t a big rah-rah guy just to the way he approached every day, the way he led by example, did his job and was a man of accountability. He was always reliable. He was never too high, never too low,” Anzalone explained to the media.

To last seven seasons in the NFL, Line would have to be cut from the right cloth, and Anzalone believes those traits will now benefit Line’s community in a major way.

“As unthinkable of a situation as this is, in my opinion, I think God put him in this situation for a reason and he’ll be able to lead that community,” he said.

Dan Campbell Also Plans to Reach Out to Line

Much like Anzalone, Line’s tie in had a direct impact on Dan Campbell, who worked with Line for a pair of seasons when the duo was in New Orleans together within the last few years as well. Campbell coached tight ends while Line was on the offense. While Campbell didn’t place that Line was in Metro Detroit at the same time as him now immediately, he did recall it nearly instantly after the tragedy occurred and planned to reach out.

“I knew he was up here, just totally (forgot). I found out about it after the walkthrough so I didn’t even realize that. That will be the first thing I do when I leave here is give him a call. I did not even put two and two together,” Campbell admitted to the media on Wednesday.

Line returned to Oxford to coach his alma mater after retiring from the NFL, and Myre was one of his standout players this season. That offers a very direct tie for Campbell that is likely to hit even closer to home given his time in New Orleans overlapped with Line’s.

Through tragedy, it’s possible that Line will have a chance to touch plenty of lives and make a bad situation better. Anzalone could be counted as a believer in that fact.

READ NEXT: Dan Campbell: Oxford Shooting ‘Hit Like a Ton of Bricks’

Read More