Sunday, October 2, 2022

Dan Skipper’s inspirational comeback story helps embody Lions culture

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When news broke that the Detroit Lions would face more injury problems up front, people were probably very concerned.

The good news you haven’t considered? A player from the practice team was waiting in the wings to save them for week 2. That player was none other than reserve guard Dan Skipper, who played almost clean.

Skipper played a tough form of guard for the team, and much like Week 1, the Lions continued to throb despite a mess in Detroit’s offensive line. Detroit scored over 35 points again and clinched a 36-27 win.

An important reason for this was Skipper’s work at the top. After the game, however, he didn’t want any additional awards, although people were willing to hand them out. As Skipper told the media, it’s just his job.

“We’re all the next guy. We’re not the chosen ones, so to speak, but at the end of the day it goes out, gets a win, that’s what counts,” said Skipper. “(Taylor) Decker and Penei (Sewell) go out there and help us out, that’s part of what this gig is about. Show up every day, put on your hard hat and go to work and good things happen.”

Skipper eventually played a huge role for the Lions simply by doing his job and being somber on the field. At one point he drove a commander’s safety far down the field while opening a hole.

As a result of his game got Skipper a big praise after the game by Dan Campbell showering him with love in the dressing room.

There is good reason for the team’s reaction.

Skipper was dropped from camp again this year, which has been a recurring theme throughout his career. It’s something that spurred him on to work hard and never give up on his dream.

As he told the media, it’s been a frustrating journey to this point, culminating in another cut in 2022.

“It’s my sixth year in the league, I’ve never made a team. It’s tough. You’re just never good enough. you are not quite enough You show up every day thinking you’re doing the right thing, and for some reason it doesn’t quite work out,” he said. “I think I’ve had 20 NFL contracts, they’re not worth the paper they’re written on. It’s like ‘Here we go again’, sixth year, I think things are looking good, it sucks.”

Instead, Skipper didn’t give up and stuck with it. He stayed with the Detroit Practice Squad, earned his chance and then owned it when he got the call.

When people talk about grit, that’s it. Skipper isn’t a first-name on the offensive front, but it’s clear the player is made of different, sterner stuff, and that makes him special.

It’s a huge advantage for the Lions to have a person and a player like Skipper on the roster who’s willing to step in. While people talk about the ideal mindset a team wants to build, Skipper is the type of player they’re talking about.

Those who didn’t see this coming from Skipper need not be blamed. Up to this point he had only played 12 games without starts in his NFL career. However, Skipper knew the system and scheme, having previously played in Detroit.

Skipper was an undrafted free agent from Arkansas in 2017, so he undoubtedly has a good relationship with Detroit center Frank Ragnow, who is out injured. Ragnow is a fellow Razorback and his and Skipper’s time in Fayetteville overlapped during his college days. Skipper also joined the team in 2019 where he briefly played for the Lions.

Skipper began his career with the Dallas Cowboys but quickly signed with the Lions. He previously played in Detroit and was a Lions roster in 2017 and 2018. After spending that time with the Lions, he was snapped up by the New England Patriots, where he managed to be on the practice team for the team that captured Super Bowl LII.

At 6-9, Skipper is one of the tallest players in the NFL, which is why teams value his tools on offense. With a body of this size, he can move and serve as a key blocker, which he did. Here’s Skipper at work in college:

Skipper deserves so much credit for sticking to his dream and making a positive impact on the Lions. Because of this, it’s easy to see that he could be just the type of player the team is building its new culture around.

CONTINUE READING: Hunt Report: Aidan Hutchinson shows that patience pays off

Skipper was an undrafted free agent from Arkansas in 2017, so he undoubtedly has a good relationship with Detroit center Frank Ragnow, who is out injured. Ragnow is a fellow Razorback and his and Skipper’s time in Fayetteville overlapped during his college days. Skipper also joined the team in 2019 where he briefly played for the Lions.



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