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Thursday, 28 August, 2008 2:09 AM

Detroit Lions Kickoff 75th Season at the Detroit Economic Club with High Hopes

PHOTO BY JASON RZUCIDLO / ©AMERICAJR.com

Detroit Lions Head Coach Rod Marinelli addresses the Detroit Economic Club on August 27, 2008.

by Garrett Godwin
ggodwin82@yahoo.com

 

"Are you guys ready?
Are you guys ready for some football?"
--Sportscaster Dan Miller

DETROIT -- The meeting of today's Detroit Economic Club (DEC) wasn't tamed, as the 12th Annual Detroit Lions Kickoff Luncheon took place inside the Cobo Center in downtown Detroit. It was a special occasion in part of celebrating the football franchise's 75th anniversary.

This will be a special year for the Lions, said Larry Wisne, whose family and Tribute Restaurant sponsored the event. He was surprised by the turnout at the luncheon --realizing how much the people of Detroit still cares for the Lions as well as saying "it is a special blessing" to have the entire team at the meeting and seeing them in action on television.

The proceeds for the luncheon benefited the Lions charities for Think Detroit PAL Youth Football, in which kids, CEO Dan Varner spoke at the podium, learn character traits such as perservance, courage, and diversity. Despite what has been happening in the state of Michigan, he continues, the work that is being done is important in order to help these kids grow up into becoming courageous adults.

The Lions finished last season with a 7-9 record, but is doing well in the preseason so far at 3-0, as the team heads off to Buffalo tomorrow night to play against the Bills before the regular season starts, which is a week from Sunday.

"There is an appointed time for everything in the sun, and that time is now," said Lions President and CEO Matt Millen, who also said that the team has embodied selflessness, and it takes no talent to hustle. "Your skills set is a gift, and how you use it is up to you. [But] It's your atttiude that is important."

Though the team didn't make it to the playoffs in 2007, they are expected to restore the roar here in the Motor City. Rod Marinelli said the team will continue to work hard in the 2008 season and keep buliding up expectations; he feels very strongly about his team. When it was his time to came to the podium, the Lions head coach said he will run the football because it's hard, but that is what he partly loves about football -- the competition.

"What I'm looking [for]," he continues, "is football character. I'm interested in guys who love football and can't live without it. I want to league the team in effort, and that is what I want to see on Sunday."

What matters to the Lions isn't winning ten games (they haven't done that since 1995); they want to go beyond.

"We demand excellence from each," said Defensive Tackle Cory Redding. "We push each other."

That demand and push is due to Coach Marinelli, who, according to Redding, wants no excuses. "[He] don't care how bad you're hurt," Redding went on. "You can't live soft and fight tough. [Coach Marinelli] wants more out of us; he doesn't pat us on the back and say 'Good job' but say it's not good enough. The best is yet to come."

Though running the Lions physically, emotionally, and mentally, Marinelli states that he is proud to present them to this meeting. He is compassionate; he cares, said Millen, and that is why they can go one mile and get their heart blow up.

"When you step on the field," said Quarterback Jon Kitka, "it's time to practice. Having a competitive character is what makes the Lions different from any team."

The 75th anniversary celebration of the team franchise will take place in Ford Field, when the Lions play against the Jacksonville Jaguars on November 9.

Redding has one thing to say to the people of Detroit for this season: "Be loud, stay late, don't leave the third quarter, and stay through the game."

For ticket information, go to www.detroitlions.com.

 

PHOTO BY JASON RZUCIDLO / ©AMERICAJR.com

The Lions celebrate their 75th season at this meeting of the Detroit Economic Club.

 

PHOTO BY JASON RZUCIDLO / ©AMERICAJR.com

More than 1,000 people attended the meeting inside Cobo Center.

 

PHOTO BY JASON RZUCIDLO / ©AMERICAJR.com

Broadcasters Dan Miller and Jim Brandstatter were masters of cermonies.

 

PHOTO BY JASON RZUCIDLO / ©AMERICAJR.com

Larry Wisne of Tribute Restaurant welcomed everyone.

 

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