Monday, Apr 23, 2018
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Lions players embrace new coach's work ethic

ALLEN PARK, Mich. - Dominic Raiola has played for the Detroit Lions since 2001, giving him a unique perspective on the worst eight-season stretch by an NFL team since World War II.

Raiola has been one of the only consistent contributors during the miserable stretch by earning the job as starting center the last seven years.

Less than a week into training camp with first-year coach Jim Schwartz, Raiola can see and feel a difference with hard-hitting practices and stiff competition that even put his job in jeopardy.

"I don't think anybody feels safe," Raiola said. "That's the way it should be. You have to earn your keep. Nobody deserves to have anything given."

Schwartz is pleased Raiola and the rest of the team have gotten the message that no one's job is safe.

"That's been our mantra from the start," he said.

Schwartz, players, and executives have seen some encouraging signs in training camp, and yet they know there's a lot of work to do for the team coming off the NFL's first 0-16 season.

The new coach has liked how hard the players have been working and how well they're embracing his way of running practice. But he's not sporting an ear-to-earn grin and skipping through the halls of team headquarters just yet.

"We've got a long way to go before I'm going to be truly happy with anything," he said. "The only way we're all going to be truly happy is when we win games, so let's wait until we do that until we give too many pats on the back."

The Lions opened practice to the general public for the first time yesterday morning and welcomed an Allen Park-record crowd of 1,612 fans. They saw an up-tempo workout - with players in shorts, helmets, and soft shoulder pads - with a lot of eye-catching plays on both sides of the ball.

Linebacker Jordon Dizon made a diving interception. Safety Marquand Manuel broke up a pass from Daunte Culpepper to Calvin Johnson. Linebacker Ernie Sims put a teammate on his back.

Rookie quarterback Matthew Stafford, the No. 1 pick in April, drew ohhs and aahs with a long pass to Keary Colbert.

BEREA, Ohio - Browns star wide receiver Braylon Edwards finished his first practice, slapped on a baseball cap for his interview session and then returned to the field in search of Cleveland coach Eric Mangini.

Edwards found Mangini, and the two chatted briefly as they walked off together - in step.

The Browns can only hope they stay that way.

Edwards, the talented playmaker whose dropped passes were among the problems that doomed Cleveland last season, practiced after missing the first four days of training camp with an undisclosed injury. Cleared by the Browns' medical staff, Edwards, who had been limited to mostly riding a stationary bike, rejoined his teammates and looked sharp during the two-hour workout.

It didn't take long for Edwards to shine. During a 7-on-7 drill, Edwards soared high in the air to catch a touchdown pass from quarterback Derek Anderson.

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