When sent away, the cornerback will Slay.
It certainly didn’t take long for Darius Slay to fire shots at Detroit Lions coach Matt Patricia in multiple interviews after the three-time Pro Bowl cornerback was traded Thursday to the Philadelphia Eagles.
“Shoot, I didn’t have that much respect for Matty P as a person,” Slay said Thursday on WJR radio. “It was hard for me to play for him.”
Slay, the Lions’ second-round pick in 2013, spent seven seasons with Detroit, including the last two after Patricia was plucked off the Bill Belichick coaching tree in 2018.
The 29-year-old Slay also told the Detroit Free Press about an incident from their first training camp together in 2018.
“He told me in front of the whole team, in the team meeting room, showed clips of me in practice getting a ball caught on me in practice,” Slay told the newspaper. “I posted a picture [of a wide receiver on social media], and (Patricia) told me, ‘stop sucking this man’s private.’
“So I’m like, ‘Whoa.’ I’m like, ‘Hold up.’ Where I’m from, that don’t fly. Cause I wouldn’t say that to him. I wouldn’t say to him to stop you know what to Bill Belichick. I wouldn’t do that. That’s just not me as a man. That’s disrespectful to me and so from there on it was done with.”
The Lions have gone 9-22-1 in their first two seasons under Patricia, including just three wins in 2019.
Slay, who had two interceptions and 46 total tackles in 14 games last season, was traded Thursday to the Eagles for a two draft picks (a third- and fifth-rounder) in the 2020 NFL draft. The Eagles then signed him to a three-year contract extension worth $50 million ($30 million guaranteed), making him the highest-paid cornerback in the league.
Of the 2018 training camp incident with Patricia, Slay added that an assistant coach told him the new head coach simply was using him as an example about the dangers of social media. But the damage to their relationship already was done.
“I was real teary-eyed because I got real, real mad and (the assistant coach) was like, ‘Slay, man, he’s just trying to … set the tone for the team that some stuff don’t go. He don’t like social media so he trying to post it, make it calm social media down,’ cause a lot of us (players) like social media,” Slay told the Free Press. “I said, man, I wasn’t trying to hear that because of the fact that I’m a grown man, he’s a grown man.
“Like I said, I wasn’t saying nothing like that to him to disrespect him like that. I wasn’t trying to disrespect that man in no way because I respect him as a man. But I felt there was no mutual respect as a man, (even if) he respect me as a player.”
To that end, Slay also relayed that Patricia once told him he wasn’t an ‘elite’ player, so the defensive star figured he’d be on the move this offseason.
“Of course I wanted to stay [in Detroit] for a minute, but I already knew how me and Matt Patricia is,” Slay said during the WJR interview on the Mitch Albom Show. “That wasn’t going to last long.
“He told me I wasn’t elite. He told me I had no business working out with Richard Sherman and [Aquib] Talib because I wasn’t elite, and those guys are in the elite category and I was just good … If I ain’t elite in your eyes, at least I’m trying to go compete with guys and work out with guys and pick their brains to become elite.”