- Michael Rothstein, ESPN Staff Writer
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Speaking publicly for the first time about the team not picking up his fifth-year option, Fairley told the Detroit Free Press that he's trying to look at it as a positive.
"I kind of said it's a good thing, kind of," Fairley told the newspaper. "It kind of will put me into a new contract earlier than [other] guys coming out in my draft. They're picking up guys' fifth-year option, that gets me into a new contract. That's the way I look at it."
Fairley has played in 38 games for Detroit after being selected by the team with the No. 13 pick in the 2011 draft. He has made 84 tackles and had 12.5 sacks. But his weight has always been inconsistent, as has his play over the first three seasons of his career.
When Lions general manager Martin Mayhew announced he would not be picking up Fairley's fifth-year option, he explained he was doing it to try and motivate the former Auburn player. To that end, it has apparently worked. He told the Free Press he is down to 295 pounds.
"I'd say I'm back to my Auburn ways," Fairley said. "I feel like back when I was at that national championship, and you know how that year went so looking to repeat it."
That is the season that vaulted him into the first round of the draft.
He also explained the medical procedure he had done earlier this month that kept him out of the first two weeks of organized team activities. He had sleep apnea surgery, according to the Free Press, and he told the newspaper he expects to be able to rejoin the team this week for the final week of OTAs before mandatory minicamp.