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Wednesday, April 20, 2011
BBAO: Lions ride wave to 'MNF'

By Kevin Seifert

We're Black and Blue All Over:

The Detroit Lions' rebuilding program received an unmistakable endorsement from the NFL and its schedule-markers, who granted them their first Monday night game since 2001 as part of its 2011 schedule unveiling. The gesture wasn't lost on the team.

"Obviously, we're excited about it," Lions president Tom Lewand said, via Tom Kowalski of "First and foremost, it's a great testament to our team, to our players and what they've accomplished at the end of the season last year and the interest that they generated. It's a testament to our fans in Detroit, the excitement and enthusiasm they showed for our team down the stretch last year, and for the hospitality they showed for the Giants and Vikings game that we hosted last year."

Across the NFL, players offered mixed reactions to the schedule given the circumstances of the lockout. Via Twitter, Lions defensive end Cliff Avril said: "We got that Monday night lady's and gents... Let's go Detroit." Tailback Jahvid Best wrote: "Monday night football! Let's go #lions." Not surprisingly, linebacker Zack Follett was more effusive: "MONDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL!!!! rehab just got kicked up a notch! YEEEEE."

Continuing around the NFC North: