Found November 06, 2013 on
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ALLEN PARK, Mich. After getting released by two teams in three months, Austen Lane turned to boxing and mixed martial arts to stay in shape while hoping for another chance in the NFL.
He was watching the TV show "The Walking Dead" Sunday night when he got the call from the Detroit Lions.
With Ezekiel "Ziggy" Ansah still hobbled by an ankle injury, Lane could be rushed into the playing rotation on the defensive line for Sundays game at Chicago, just five days after joining the team.
"Boxing and MMA kind of filled my void of hitting people," said Lane, a 6-foot-6, 265-pound defensive end. "I still need some contact. I just cant go and bench 225 (pounds) a couple times and call it a day."
Ansah was seen Tuesday in a walking boot and then missed practice Wednesday for the second straight day, a bad sign considering he was injured in the Dallas game on October 27 and the Lions are coming off a bye week.
"Hes going to have to be ready to play in case Ziggy cant go," coach Jim Schwartz said of Lane. "We wont know until we get later in the week."
Whether Lane really would be ready to contribute remains to be seen, but he certainly entertained the media while meeting with them for the first time Wednesday afternoon following practice.
Lane, a fifth-round pick by Jacksonville in 2010 coming out of Murray State, showed off the tattoo on his right arm of the Big Boy restaurant logo with the caption "Doing Big Boy Things in a Big Boy World."
Lane seemed quite pleased that reporters actually recognized the logo. In Jacksonville, where there apparently are no Big Boy restaurants, people used to ask him if it was from a popular childrens cartoon character.
"I had to explain it wasnt Jimmy Neutron," Lane said. "Its kind of nice being up in Detroit. You guys actually know what Im talking about."
Lanes facial features are a little reminiscent of his new teammate, linebacker DeAndre Levy.
Both have healthy beards that are a little grizzly-like.
"I havent really spoken with him yet," Lane said when asked about Levy. "Im not sure if he felt intimidated when I walked in with this beard.
"Hes got a pretty mean beard, Im not going to lie. I saw him, kind of hesitated and walked the other way.
"I dont know if theres a beard-off or something coming up with the team. Well see what happens."
Lanes skills go beyond the football field. He has written first-person stories for Sports Illustrated, including one about being cut by Jacksonville in June that was titled "What Its Like to Get Whacked" and another about getting cut again in August by the Kansas City Chiefs.
He said both were "almost like therapeutic" for him, but he still is more likely to go the MMA route after his football career rather than become a full-time writer.
"I cant sit behind a desk," Lane said. "Id probably gouge my eyes out from boredom. No offense to you guys. I need to do something active."
--- Bears receiver Brandon Marshall confirmed that he reached out to troubled former Lion Titus Young several months ago with no success.
"I wish I was able to get to him earlier," Marshall said during a conference call with Detroit reporters. "When we were in the process of him coming down to Florida, it was right there when things unfortunately got worse (Young got arrested three times in a week last May).
"When you see a guy struggling, we shouldnt make fun of him. He was a punch line for many weeks on ESPN, on NFL Network, on Twitter, all those social-media sites.
"No one understood the longer he was going to go untreated, the worse it was going to get. We saw that. Thats a good illustration for all of us how things can turn out if we dont take care of ourselves early."
--- Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh says he likes to go against the leagues top quarterbacks and is disappointed that Chicagos Jay Cutler and Green Bays Aaron Rodgers are injured.
"I wish them the best, speedy recoveries so I can go against them and take them down," Suh said.
--- Suh was mum about what took place during a video conference with NFL officials to discuss his fines for on-the-field incidents.
Asked if he got what he wanted out of the meeting, Suh said, "I think I did for the most part. That was last week so Im going to keep it there."
--- Offensive tackle Riley Reiff will laugh a little, but not nearly as much as everyone else over his desperation sprint to line up before quarterback Matthew Staffords 1-yard touchdown sneak with 12 seconds remaining against the Cowboys.
Reiff was celebrating because he thought Calvin Johnson had scored on the previous play. His coaches and teammates were animate on the sideline in trying to get his attention.
Stafford was heard shrieking for Reiff to hustle up. A penalty at that point would have resulted in a 10-second runoff.
"He was going crazy," Reiff said of Stafford. "I dont blame him."
As for the joking hes gotten in the locker room over the incident, Reiff added, "Its still pretty tender to me. Ill play along with it.
"It is a learning experience. Its not funny. It could have cost us the game."
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