For their last Organized Team Activity, the Lions held a workout at a Detroit public high school. The practice was open to the public, but it was really for Detroit high school players and coaches.
Since the Lions moved into their new Allen Park headquarters in 2002, they have closed training camp to the public. They have held only one open practice each year at Ford Field.
But then Lions coach Rod Marinelli came up with this idea. Marinelli, who began his career as a high school coach in California, said he wanted to give back to the teachers and coaches who worked so hard to affect so many lives. He said he wanted the kids to see how professionals went about their business.
"Hopefully it gives energy to the kids," Marinelli said. "You may not be a pro football player. But when you get a vision of something you want to be, you've got a chance to keep getting better."
The 9:30 a.m. practice drew some fans. But while they sat in the stands or stood behind the fence, the players and coaches from the Detroit high schools got to stand on the track surrounding the field. They got to see the Lions up close.
Stager Hornton, 17, a junior offensive lineman at Detroit Renaissance, called it an honor to see the Lions practicing on his home field.
"You notice how everything moves fast," Hornton said. "They do stuff, and then they keep going. It's, like, discipline. You can tell. That's what you've got to do to be a professional."
Detroit Mumford assistant coach Julian Carter told his kids to pay attention to everything, right down to how tightly they tied their shoes.
"A lot of these kids are not going to be able to afford to get Lions tickets," Carter said. "They're not. Can't afford it. And if you can afford a ticket, you can't afford to park. And if you can afford a ticket and can afford to park, heck, you're going to have to split a hot dog. ... So a lot of them are never going to get to see this at all.
"Hopefully this will inspire a lot of guys."