Lions know winning is the way to get respect back

Associated Press Modified: October 11, 2012 at 4:46 am •  Published: October 11, 2012
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"So much can change in the next 12 games, for us especially," Avril said. "We feel like we have a great team. We feel like we can go do some things — proving to the league and everybody else that thinks negative of us wrong."

In a Pro Football Weekly report earlier this week, an anonymous general manager and a person described as a talent evaluator ripped the Lions on both sides of the ball, saying the offense is one-dimensional and Ndamukong Suh is overrated, and said the front office has taken too many chances on players with off-the-field issues.

"That fired me up," center Dominic Raiola said. "Taking a shot at the Lions' organization, that ain't right."

The Lions know the only way to quiet the critics is to win.

"That's the only thing that we're judged on," coach Jim Schwartz said.

Detroit's coaches and players, though, got a bit of perspective about how important wins and losses are in life.

Army Staff Sgt. Travis Mills, who lost all four limbs in Afghanistan, watched practice from a terrace overlooking the indoor practice field. Mills went to the field level after the practice and told stories and cracked jokes while surrounded by several players, including safety Louis Delmas, who was checking out his motorized wheelchair.

"I'll let you take it for a spin," Mills told Delmas.

Offensive tackle Jeff Backus was in awe with Mills' attitude, saying he and other soldier are true heroes — not professional athletes.

"It was inspirational to see what he has gone through and to still have his mentality," Backus said. "To serve your country and lose all your limbs and to still be upbeat, it's truly amazing."

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