By Ian Shalapata
(ALLEN PARK, MI) – Late last week, the Detroit Lions announced the acquisition of WR Anquan Boldin and LB Dominique Tovell while releasing WR Damian Copeland and LB Jerry Franklin in response.
Head coach Jim Caldwell was quick to highlight that Boldin’s experience will benefit the Lions.
“He’s more obviously a guy that gives you a tremendous amount of experience along with great leadership and he’s maybe one of the best competitors I’ve ever been around in terms of just flat out competing against individuals on game day,” Caldwell said. “He fights for the ball. He makes tough catches. He does all the little things right. He’s also obviously a guy that’s going to get after you on the block. He’s going to add a few things to it.”
Boldin is entering his 14th season in the NFL and is joining Detroit after playing the last three seasons with San Francisco. Before that he was drafted by Arizona, 54th overall out of Florida State, and won a Super Bowl as a member of the Baltimore Ravens, when Caldwell was on the coaching staff.
With the 49ers last year, Boldin made 69 catches for 789 yards and four TDs in 14 games.
“There’s not many guys that still can be able to put up the same numbers that he can year in and year out,” Caldwell said. “But, I think that also says a lot about him in terms of how he takes care of his body. He’s one of those guys that’s forever been in just peak condition, worked at it consistently.
Tovell makes his way to Detroit by way of New Orleans, an undrafted rookie from Louisiana-Lafayette where he recorded 238 tackles in 50 games over four years.
The Lions also announced the signing of CB Darius Slay to a contract extension through the 2020 season.
“Darius earned this extension, and we are happy to reward him accordingly,” said GM Bob Quinn. “We also are pleased to have finalized this now so the team and Darius can focus on the start of training camp and preparation for the upcoming season.”
Slay was a 2nd round draft selection, 36th overall, by the Lions in 2013. Over the course of his NFL career, Slay has 149 tackles and four interceptions in 45 games.
“You know, every case is different. But, in his particular case, I mean he’s certainly doing exactly what we thought he could do,” Caldwell ventured. “He’s got speed and quickness and obviously he has a good feel for the defense as well. I think it’s one of those things that he’s really developed himself as a leader. I mean guys listen to him, they have respect for him, and we’re glad we have him.”
On Friday, Detroit placed S Don Carey and LB DeAndre Levy on the Active/Non-Football Injury list.
Caldwell downplayed the assignment and suggested that it was cautionary in nature.
“You know, we just kind of want to be careful with him, and just make certain he’s ready to go when I anticipate he will be at some point in time,” the coach said. “So, if it was something long term that we deemed as being long term, you certainly know I would let you know that.”
There was no expansion by Caldwell as to the background to Levy’s injury.
“You know we don’t talk about injuries and all those kinds of things,” Caldwell declined to comment. “We don’t talk about all those kinds of things until we’re required to put something on an injury report.”
The Lions completed their second practice Saturday at the team’s practice facility in Allen Park with an afternoon workout in shorts and helmets.