The unbridled optimism has long faded. The fact that Joey Harrington refused to play like a rookie is long gone. He's finally taking his lumps, along with the rest of the team.
And no matter how much he struggles, people need to realize it's all a learning process. As he gets better, so will the rest of the offense. But as the Lions suffer the beating of going through the rookie mistakes Harrington will make, they find themselves with a face. Something the Detroit Lions haven't seen in years.
He was possibly the greatest running back to ever play the game. No doubt he was the best to ever play for the Lions. But, Barry Sanders abruptly retired in 1999, much to Michigan's dismay. Not only did he take his electrifying jukes, his ankle breaking shake and bakes out the door with retirement, but he took the Lions' recognition. After 1999, nobody on the Lions was notable enough to talk about in mainstream media. The only thing talked about was the mistakes made, either on the field or through the draft.
Enter Joey Harrington. We all know where he came from. The 3rd overall pick in the 2002 draft. A rookie quarterback who has shown flashes of absolute brilliance, deemed the savior of Detroit before he even took a snap for them. But aside from the fact that Joey might end up developing into a great player, he brings a face to the enigmatic Lions.
Mainstream media now has something and someone to associate to the Detroit Lions. When you mention the Lions to even a casual fan, the first player they think of is Joey Harrington. He brings a personality to the Lions franchise. He IS Detroit Lions football, whether he likes it or not. Whether or not he develops into what the casual fan remembers as a bust or continues to be the face and savior of the seemingly hapless Detroit football team is yet to be seen. But for the time being, he gives the Lions something to be proud of. A face. A personality.
Instead of covering our face with paper bags, we should show it with pride.
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