ALLEN PARK, Mich. — It was a surreal experience for No. 2 pick Aidan Hutchinson as he strolled around the Detroit Lions’ practice facility on Friday with his family, as one of the newest members of the team.
Although he’s happy to start his NFL career journey in his backyard, there weren’t a ton of pleasant memories he could reflect on growing up a Lions fan. Now, he’s committed to helping change the culture.
“Not a ton of great memories. We went through the 0-16 season when I was growing up,” Hutchinson recalled. “I’ve been to a couple Lions games before, and the atmosphere is just great. When the Lions are winning ballgames, it’s like, ‘Happy wife, happy life.’ The fans are just so into it. I just hope that when we’ve got the right pieces going, I think the coaches are right, we can start to get this ball rolling a little bit.”
Hutchinson attended nearby Divine Child High School in Dearborn, Michigan — which is located less than seven miles from the practice facility. As soon as his name was announced as the team’s top pick, he said he was contacted by a lot of his Lions teammates who seemed excited to have him, but the moment still hasn’t hit him yet as he’ll start house shopping in Detroit soon.
“Not quite. I’m still waiting on it,” Hutchinson said. “I was just walking around the building today with my family and it’s just weird because growing up as a Michigan guy, I’m around Detroit sports so much and to think that I’m a Lion, it seems like a wild dream to me, but now, it’s kind of come true. So, it’s wild, but I’m soaking it all in and I’m sure one of these days it’s gonna hit me for sure.”
Hutchinson anticipates that living in Michigan will make his NFL transition easier, but Detroit’s No. 12 pick, Jameson Williams, said he didn’t know much at all about the Lions’ history.
After tearing his ACL in the national title game in January, the rookie wide receiver hopes to be ready for training camp to change the narrative in the Motor City.
“Changing the culture. Just really just flipping this program around and really that,” Williams said. “That’s the main goal. Winning games, get in the playoffs, having fun.”