ALLEN PARK - The Lions may have acquired cornerback R. W. McQuarters to be a nickel back in their defensive scheme, but that's not how the versatile 5' 10", 195-pound, former Oklahoma State standout views himself.
"I view myself as a starting corner in this league," said McQuarters. "I may end up playing the nickel, the dime, safety or returning kicks, but I feel like I'm a starter and that's the approach I take every day."
The Lions signed McQuarters as an unrestricted free agent after his contract with NFC North rival Chicago expired at the end of last season.
McQuarters was a former number one pick of the San Francisco 49ers, when Lions head coach Steve Mariucci was head coach in the Bay Area. After two seasons in San Francisco, McQuarters was traded to the Bears where he spent the last five seasons.
Even in the hot humid conditions of training camp, McQuarters was unflappable. "I'm a seven-year veteran so I'm used to hot conditions. I'm from Tulsa, Oklahoma so I'm used to this kind of heat," he joked as he talked about the Lions secondary personnel. "The main thing [we need to do] is to stop touchdowns. That's the reason we're back there. With the guys we have on this team I believe we can do that."
McQuarters also talked about the origin of his long braids which extend from under his helmet and have become a sort of an identifying trademark.
"They're not braids, they're 'locks'," explained McQuarters in a serious tone. "When I first came into the league I thought I would try the style and they kept growing and guys would ask me about them, so I kept them."
McQuarters said he wasn't sure if he was the first to sport the style, but says since he made some big plays in San Francisco and Chicago while sporting his 'locks' he's noticed more and more corners - including the Saints Mike McKenzie, the Packers Al Harris and younger players like teammate Chris Cash sporting them. He says he views that as a sort of a tribute to his earlier days.
When asked if they held any special significance, McQuarters explained "when I look at my locks, it reminds me that I'm locked into my family and my life (as a family). It also reminds me of where I've been in my career. As long as I can keep my 'shake' and no one grabs me by them, I'm going to keep them."
"When I retire, I might cut them off."
McQuarters Wants to be Big Part of Defense
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Scout NFL Network08/24/2016