There will be a man on the Lions’ sideline on Sunday you’ve never seen before. He’ll wear No. 18. Be lanky and fast. Despite being ranked fourth on the depth chart, he probably won’t play.
But if he does, if he goes out there and catches a pass, he could catch another. And another. There’s a chance that he may be the story of year in one of the many slated to be forgotten by Lions fans in the not too distant future.
His name is Kris Durham. With a ‘K.’ With Ryan Broyles tearing his ACL and Titus Young pulling a Titus Young and being told to sit the rest of the season out, Durham was signed off of the practice squad.
Another nobody signed off of the practice squad? This man is not a nobody.
Durham was a fourth round pick of Seattle in 2011. He went to Georgia. He was a roommate of Matthew Stafford. His brother in-law is Blake Wood, a pitcher for the Cleveland Indians you’ve never heard of. I kind of like it that way.
He played in three games last year before being put on the IR with a torn labrum. He happens to be 6-foot-6. He ran a 4.43 40-yard dash at Georgia’s Pro Day, which would have been 11th fastest among receivers at last year’s combine, faster than Notre Dame’s (now Arizona Cardinal) Michael Floyd, the 13th overall pick.
Seattle cut him at the end of training camp, a move that was “somewhat surprising” to one particular Detroit Free Press writer.
Kris Durham is a guy who can play a little bit, is simply looking for another chance and, as far as I know, not getting into any trouble.
Kris Durham is a guy you want to root for. And with Jacques McClendon still on a practice squad in Atlanta, your fan space has plenty of room for a new favorite player.
After all the Christmas shopping and tree decorating and loft building and snow blowing and everything else, settle down on on Sunday night and simply watch the Lions play. There’s no point in getting into the game or even caring about the outcome. A football miracle (which ranks much lower on the miracle list than a Christmas miracle, by the way) needs to occur for the Lions to make the posteason. Just sit there and watch this brutal sport that is played simply because millions of people pay billions of dollars to watch it.
If you can keep the lingering thought out of your head that the guy who just got lit up on the punt return probably did a whole of damage to his brain, keep an eye out for No. 18.
We watch for storylines. Black and white ones, that can’t be construed based on what your beliefs are. No matter what your stance is on abortion or how to twist the facts to make an outcome seem different, at the end of the night, one team will win and one team will lose. There will be a hero and a villain. There will be drama, entertainment, and possibly some hijinx.
And in this almost meaningless game from the Lions standpoint, there’s a guy, an underdog, somebody who wants something that few people have, waiting for a shot to prove he’s worthy of achieving it.
He’s a storyline that just happens to be 6-foot-6 and run a 4.43 40-yard dash.
It probably won’t happen. Coming from the practice squad to playing time is a rare occurrence. Even if he does get it, chances are he sucks. But there’s simply a chance that something is different.
Of all things in life, in a meaningless sports game, a simple chance will do.