DE Austin Bryant is Poised and Ready to Help Lions Defense
The Detroit Lions announced on Wednesday that they activated defensive end Austin Bryant from injured reserve.
Bryant has been practicing for the past few weeks. He is ready, if called upon, to make his NFL debut Sunday against Washington.
Since Trey Flowers is out with a concussion and Da'Shawn Hand is dealing with an ankle injury, Detroit's fourth round pick in his year's draft could be on the field for meaningful snaps in his debut.
Bryant was placed on injured reserve during his first training camp after suffering a pectoral injury.
Bryant spoke to SI Lions Maven writer John Maakaron on Friday afternoon regarding the challenges of his rookie season, how Clemson prepared him for the NFL and how he can help the Lions defense.
SI LionsMaven: Take me through your rookie season.
Bryant: "It's been a journey to say the least. I came in, they knew I was already injured from school. So I was in the rehab program early. Finally got cleared once camp came around. I had another setback so I had to sit out a little while longer. They designated me to IR after camp. So I have just been in the shadows learning as much as I could. Continually working out with the trainers trying to get back healthy. It is all I have been doing. This week, I finally have a shot to play once I got cleared. It's been exciting these last couple of weeks just getting back at practice. And then this week getting acclimated. It's been a process, but I learned a lot coming out of it and I think I will be better for it."
SI LionsMaven: What are one or two things you learned while you were away until you got cleared?
Bryant: "Just learning the playbook. Learning how to be a pro from all the other guys that were already here. Devon Kennard, Christian Jones, Jarrad Davis and the older guys that took me under their wing and allowed me to ask as many questions I wanted to. They always welcomed me with open arms and never treated me like I was on the side. They always treated me like I was right there with them. I appreciate them for that. I appreciate all that they taught me throughout this time and what they are continually teaching me now that I am out there on the field."
SI LionsMaven: How did playing at Clemson prepare you for all this?
Bryant: "I think it prepared me very well. Coach (Dabo) Swinney runs that program very very well and taught us a lot of things I think will separate you in the NFL. So I am really glad I had him as a head coach. All the assistant coaches I had and just the amount of work that we put in to be as successful as we were at the collegiate level. I think it will carry an individual into the next phase of there life and there career in the NFL. I learned so much how to work, how to be a man, how to be accountable. Those are the most important things I learned there and I will never take it for granted."
SI LionsMaven: What is the biggest adjustment you had to make going from Clemson and now being in the NFL?
Bryant: "I would say the individual aspect of the NFL. In college, it's team everything. Ride to the game together. Everybody lives together, pretty much. Then you get to the NFL and you are pretty much by yourself. You have to know how to set your own schedule. How to be accountable for the things that you need to do in order to be successful in this league. I think that is the biggest thing. Nobody really does anything for you. You have to do it on your own and take ownership of what you want to do and how is it going to help you to be successful out on the field."
SI LionsMaven: How has it been acclimating to living in Detroit?
Bryant: "I am acclimating pretty good. Starting to get out in the city and in the community helping out with community service events. Being able to go downtown whenever we have off days and just see the city. I go eat at places so just to explore a little bit being that I am from south Georgia. It has been cool to be up north. The temperature is a little lower than I would like, but it's fine. I am adjusting well. It's been cool. I like the city of Detroit and hopefully we can get this thing rolling in the right direction for our fans."
SI LionsMaven: When you get out there on the field and play defense, what do you bring to the table?
Bryant: "I just want to bring a relentless attitude to the defense. Just hustle. Try hard and be a high motor guy. That is something I want to really pride myself on and then, wherever the scheme sees fit that needs me, then that's where I want to be. This is a more you can do league. The more I can do, the more I can help this team and the more I can help this defense the more we will win. That is my only focus is just helping this team win games and that is what we have a chance to do these next couple of months."