Despite all the attempts the Detroit Lions have made to change their perception and the culture surrounding the organization, it is evident more time will be needed to allow for players to trust their intentions.
Upon entering the NFL, offensive lineman Penei Sewell, Detroit's 2021 first-round selection (No. 7 overall), already had a preconceived notion that the league was a business and that he would not get to experience a family atmosphere like he did at Oregon.
Immediately upon his arrival to the Lions organization, though, his attitude and perception changed.
And the result -- a willingness to "sacrifice" everything for the team he is now playing for.
“Man, when I came in, I thought the NFL was all the same and that it’s a business aspect, but man, I was totally wrong," Sewell explained during a recent media session at the Lions' practice facility in Allen Park.
Sewell commented further, "I came in, family atmosphere, everybody with open arms and really greeting me with all love. That kind of took me in shock for a little bit. I was like, ‘Okay, this is something that I would really love to be a part of, and this is something that I dreamed to be a part of.’ To have people in the room like that, man, it just really makes me want to go harder and makes me want to give it my all. To sacrifice everything for them.”
The Tuesday prior to the draft, Sewell had a conversation with the Lions that ended up proving to be a final confirmation that both parties could end up very happy, if he was the pick at No. 7.
"It was real genuine talk, nothing about football, just trying to see the character and how I approach things and how I approach the game of football and so on and so forth," Sewell said. "So, the conversation was really genuine.”