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OU football: Detroit Lions like what they see in former Sooners

The question is whether Ryan Broyles, Travis Lewis and Ronnell Lewis can help the Lions reach the Super Bowl for the first time.
BY MIKE BALDWIN, Staff Writer, Published: April 29, 2012

Will OU fans become Detroit Lions fans? They have three reasons to root for an NFL team on the rise.

The Lions selected three Sooners — wide receiver Ryan Broyles, defensive end/linebacker Ronnell Lewis and linebacker Travis Lewis.

First, though, a little history.

The Lions ended a 12-year playoff drought last season. And lost.

Detroit has recorded one playoff win the past 55 years. Think the Cubs are in a slump? The Lions own one playoff win since 1957.

Even more telling: the Lions are one of four teams to never play in the Super Bowl, the only team from the 1970 NFL-AFL merger that's never played the final Sunday.

Back to 2012, though. Three Sooners join the organization during a time of enhanced optimism in the Motor City.

Detroit has the league's best receiver (Calvin Johnson) and star-in-the-making quarterback (Matthew Stafford). The defense has issues, but the Lions are an emerging playoff threat.

The Lions have a coach OU fans would love. Jim Schwartz speaks his mind. A good example was Broyles' introductory press conference Saturday in Detroit. Before answering questions, Schwartz said: “As you can see, Ryan doesn't have a knee brace on,” he deadpanned to update reporters on Broyles' knee that required surgery to repair a torn ACL.

The Lions have a stable of quality wideouts, but Schwartz said Broyles, a second-round pick, will play. The NCAA's all-time leading receiver is confident his knee will be close to 100 percent for training camp in late July.

“I'm on pace,” Broyles said. “I feel good, got my range of motion back.”

If the knee heals completely, Detroit's receiving corps will be a nightmare for NFC North defenses.

On third down Broyles, might be the fourth or fifth option behind Johnson, veteran Nate Burleson, productive second-year wideout Titus Young and former Oklahoma State tight end Brandon Pettigrew.

Schwartz stressed Broyles will be in the mix.

“There's all kinds of profiles and things you look for in players,” Schwartz said. “But the No. 1 thing you look for is what he does on tape and the production he has in college.”

That's not the case for Travis Lewis. He was the first player in school history to lead the Sooners in tackles all four seasons. And he dropped to the seventh round.

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