Those who have bought into Dan Campbell’s ways these last two seasons will love what the Lions head coach did Sunday after Detroit’s Week 2 win over the Washington Commanders.
Campbell, after giving a shoutout to veteran offensive lineman Dan Skipper in the team’s locker room immediately following game, instructed Skipper to meet with the Detroit media in an effort to highlight his performance. Skipper, who previously was cut by the Lions as shown during “Hard Knocks,” was brought back to the practice squad and then elevated to the gameday roster due to a number of injuries at offensive guard.
In his first career start, the six-year NFL veteran started at guard despite never playing the position. And the 6-foot-9, 330-pound fifth-stringer played a key role while opening up running lanes for a Detroit backfield which rushed for 191 yards with an average of eight yards per carry.
“Hey, Skip! Nice freaking job, man!” Campbell shouted in the now viral video, prompting Lions teammates to cheer “Skip! Skip! Skip!” in the locker room.
Skipper opened up about his path to Sunday’s first start while meeting with reporters after Detroit’s 36-27 victory.
“My sixth year in the league, I’ve never made a team (out of camp),” Skipper told reporters, per The Detroit News. “It’s tough, you go in, and you’re never quite good enough. You’re not quite enough. You show up every day, and you think you’re doing the right things, and just for whatever reason, it just doesn’t quite work out.
“I think I’ve had 20 NFL contracts,” Skipper added, referencing not making the final cut earlier this season. “They’re not worth the paper they’re written on, right? … It’s not easy. Whether you’ve been fired once or 100 times, it still sucks. It’s tough. You get fired, but just keep on plugging away.”
Skipper has played in 14 career games, 11 of which have come in Detroit dating back to 2017. The 27-year-old also has spent time on practice squads of the Dallas Cowboys, New England Patriots and Denver Broncos. Skipper joined New England’s practice squad before the Patriots’ 2018 playoff run and returned at the start of the 2019 campaign.
“I mean, there’s really, I don’t know — it’s been such a long road,” Skipper said. “Six teams, um, like I said, I’ve been cut all over. Just having my wife and kids here and everything else, it really comes full circle. It’s hard to explain. It kinda makes everything all worth it. All the chaos, just the trails, having them here, playing, it’s kinda the cherry on top.”