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QOTW: Welcome to the NFL moment

12/18/2013

Question of the Week is a feature where we ask different Detroit Lions the same question on various topics -- some funny, some issue-based, some football-related and some completely off the wall. To suggest a potential question for QOTW, email michael.rothstein@espn.com or make the suggestion on Twitter @mikerothstein

Previous QOTW: Job if no NFL; Pregame meal; Favorite Holiday; Historical figure; Free year’s supply of;Why you wear your number; Best Halloween costume; TV character; Super Hero alter ego;Cake...or Steak?; Entrance music; Nicknamed jerseys.

ALLEN PARK, Mich. -- Every player has had one of these moments. Whether it is playing with someone, lining up across from someone, being flattened by someone or making a horrible error. It’s the "Welcome to the NFL moment." Each player, coach and probably every person around the game has it at one point or another.

So with the season winding down, we caught up with some Detroit Lions to find out what their moment was.

C Dominic Raiola: 2002. Even in 2001, my rookie year, I got in the game very sporadically, lining up on the line against the Bears, playing against Keith Traylor and Ted Washington. You remember how big those guys were?

Michael Rothstein: You ever sit there and think it was intimidating or like ‘What the heck?’

Raiola: Yeah, you had to get your feet wet. Not going to just jump in. I think everybody at first, but the competitor comes out. I was picked in the second round for a reason and I had to lean on that and lean on working hard and getting better.


Wide receiver Nate Burleson: A couple. One time I got my sweatsuit drenched out in water and hung out outside in the cold and it froze. Got taped. Got my eyebrows shaved. Randy Moss called me ‘Dummyson.’ There was a whole bunch of them.

Dummyson?

NB: Dummyson. Because my last name is Burleson, Dummyson. He thought it was hilarious. And I would mess up, like every other rookie, I would mess up plays and he would be like, ‘Come on, Dummyson, you can’t mess up.’


Right tackle LaAdrian Waddle: I’d say the first play I actually got in for game action. For one, it was me getting in the game and two, it was a play we don’t run too often with the tackle pulling but just, kind of like, it kind of got me going.

Did you wake up after that?

LW: Yeah. I didn’t have time to freak out and panic just because of the circumstances. That would be my moment. That type of play on my first play actually in a game.


Running back Reggie Bush: It’s a good question. It was eight years ago for me. I think I remember playing the Dallas Cowboys in preseason my rookie year and they tried to run a swing route, like some kind of bubble screen or swing to me. I tried to outrun DeMarcus Ware to the sideline. He caught me.

What happened?

RB: I just couldn’t outrun him. He’s fast. I think that’s when I realized, 'Damn, these guys are fast at this level.' I really tried to outrun him. And I couldn’t do it.


Quarterback Matthew Stafford: My first start, playing the eventual Super Bowl champion that year, the New Orleans Saints, probably that. Playing at their place, one of the loudest stadiums in the league against one of the best quarterbacks in the league. At that point they had a really good defense and against a tough coordinator. That was an eye-opener.

More nerves for you that game than ever?

MS: Not nerves. The biggest thing I remember from that game is how fast they go by. College game, it’s a slower pace. Every first down stops the clock. That game, fourth quarter came around and next thing you knew, the game was over. It was kind of eye-opening.


Wide receiver Kris Durham: I was actually playing in Seattle and lined up across from Champ Bailey. He looked at me and said, ‘What’s up Bulldog?’ He went to Georgia, so we went to the same school. So when he said that, I was like, ‘OK, cool, Champ Bailey knows who I am.’ That was kind of my I made it in the NFL moment.

I was waiting for the punchline of, "then the ball was snapped and he flattened me into the ground."

KD: No, no. None of that. It was like a run play or something. I just remember him doing that. In Denver.