Originally posted on Fox Sports Detroit  |  By DAVE DYE  |  Last updated 9/17/13
ALLEN PARK, Mich. Rookie cornerbacks face a tough transition to the NFL. Failure is almost inevitable. Just ask Darius Slay, the Detroit Lions second-round draft pick who has started the first two games but been replaced both times after giving up big plays. Slay said this type of adversity is nothing for him. Ive got a good mindset, he said. Ive been in harder times before. I know how to adjust. Ive got stuff way beyond this. Only thing I do is keep moving forward. I had a baby at 16. I was in high school. I had to move forward with college. Slays son, Darion, is now 6 years old and lives with Darius mother in Georgia. They talk on Skype frequently, but havent seen each other in person for several weeks. Slay, who went to Mississippi State, is trying to get established in the league, but there have been some ups and downs early on. Rashean Mathis, in his 10th NFL season, has come in to bail out Slay the last couple weeks. I aint going to let it bother me, Slay said. Hes my teammate. Hes like an older brother to me. Hes helping me out. Were trying to win games here. Its not just about me. It aint about my experience. Were trying to get these Ws. While some might view Slay getting replaced as a benching, coach Jim Schwartz looks at it differently. Benching is a little bit too much of a negative connotation, Schwartz said. I prefer call to the bullpen. There are a lot of things that Slay has seen for the first time. He just lacks experience. Hes green, but hes a very talented player. There is not a whole lot of learning curve. You have to be able to get it and get it quick. When hes been on, hes been really good. There have been some times that he hasnt been on that we have had to go to the bullpen. I think Rashean has done a really good job of coming in and doing those things. Hes a very valuable guy to our secondary. Despite the in-game demotions, Schwartz said that Slays confidence isnt a problem. Dont worry about his confidence, the coach said. For now, Slay is still listed as the starter, but that could change Sunday when the Lions play the Redskins in Washington D.C. I go in every week with the mindset as a starter, Slay said. Thats what Im going to continue to do. Im working hard to get better. I messed up on a couple plays. Theyve got Rashean here to fix those. I go to the sideline, see what I did wrong, have some of the vets coach me up on it and move forward. Youve got to forget quick. Youve got to have real thick skin. Slay knows there are only so many mistakes allowed in the NFL, even for a high draft pick. Not too many, he said. Its a business. They put the guy whos going to get the job done in there. Im just going to try to continue to get better and work hard. My time will come.
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