In the utthroat world of professional sports, it's refreshing to hear positive stories between teammates. The Detroit Lions, after plenty of issues in recent seasons, finally have one of their own between two tough competitors.
Both Corey Hilliard and Jason Fox want to earn a job starting along the Lions' revamped offensive line. Neither wants to lose the competition to play at right tackle, but neither want the other to feel bad about eventually losing that competition, either.
"Me and Corey are great friends," Fox said. "I root for him when he's in, he roots for me when I'm in. We're pushing each other and we'll see what happens in training camp. …"
Instead of having ill-feelings privately and making a show for the writers and cameras in public, both players are genuinely good guys who seem to appreciate each other's company and competition, both on and off the field. As far as team chemistry goes, this is an important element to have early in a season, especially coming on the heels of such debacles as the entire Titus Young situation from 2012.
Clearly, the Lions have been severely weak at leadership positions for the past few seasons, and this friendly contest between two hungry players for roster inclusion is invigorating. Competitions like that motivate camp weary veterans as well as green rookies, especially when the players have the proper mindset about everything as Hilliard and Fox do.
"I think that's every athlete's dream (to play in the NFL)," Fox said. "I want to contribute to this team in any way possible."
Not one to let his friend have the last word on the matter, Hilliard continued.
"Jason's good," Hilliard said. "and he's doing real good."
On Sundays this fall, no matter who ends up winning this roster battle, the Lions can count on having a giant cheerleader on the sidelines, committed to helping the team in whatever way possible. They'll also, more than likely, have the best player on the field, as there's nothing better to forge competent play than excellent training camp competition. Those worried about the future of the Lions' offensive line should look no further than either Hilliard or Fox and the leadership they've shown early on in their careers.
With a positive professional attitude taking hold between two great teammates, the Lions' future might actually look bright at what many have considered a personnel spot to be concerned about. In addition to both players benefiting, the entire team should feel reinvigorated, as well.
As every single championship team could attest, there's never any substitute for friendship and good sportsmanship between teammates.
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