Chris Houston's blue-collar mentality fits right in with the Detroit Lions

Posted Mar 14, 2013

Chris Houston has gotten better every year since he was traded to the Lions in 2010 - a blue-collar player who never stops self-evaluating

Chris Houston showed up to his Thursday Press Conference announcing his new five-year contract worth a reported $25 million in sweat pants, a Detroit Lions sweatshirt and a Detroit Tigers hat with the old English 'D' on the front.

"He's a respected member of our locker room and you can tell he hasn't spent any of his signing bonus money on clothes," Detroit Lions head coach Jim Schwartz joked of Houston's attire while introducing the cornerback.

"He's flying Detroit Lions colors, he's flying the Tigers colors, but that's the kind of the guy Chris Houston is. He's a blue-collar player in a blue-collar town. He's a guy that we appreciate very much and we're a better defense when he's been on the field for us."

Chris HoustonIt simply wouldn't have seemed right for Houston to show up in a fitted suit with a fancy tie. That's not his personality. It certainly wouldn't have conformed to his workman-like approach to the game of football.

Houston is usually one of the last players off the field and often the first one in the film room. He's worked tirelessly over the last three years - since being traded to the Lions from Atlanta - on improving his game and turning parts of his game into strengths that were weaknesses when he arrived.

"A lot of times with the flurry of activity that we had yesterday, the signing of your own player can sort of fall through the cracks and we wanted to make sure that didn't happen with Chris Houston," Schwartz said.

"He's been a three-year starter for us and he was someone who was very important for us to get under contract to move ahead with our defense and to take another step with our defense."

At 28 years old, Houston is now the veteran figure in what's shaping up to be a revamped Lions secondary, thanks to the addition of safety Glover Quin on Wednesday.

Second-year players Bill Bentley, Chris Greenwood and Jonte Green can look up to Houston as a player who's done things the right way and has been rewarded as such. If all three young cornerbacks are smart, they'll stick close to Houston.

"Those guys are going to look up to me," Houston said. "I text (Bill Bentley) still and talk to him through text. Jonte Green, those guys look up to me.

"So, I'm going to have to be more of a leader. But my leadership is more of going out and showing them by that mentality. Not so much talking. My thing was showing Bill Bentley if he needed to get better on a certain technique, then I've just got to go out there and do it and show him how I get better by just doing it over repetitiously."

With the ink just settling on that new five-year deal, it's realistic to think Houston will finish his playing career in Detroit, which is something he didn't necessarily envision back in 2010.

"When I came to Detroit, I just wanted to get somewhere where the coaches would let me play to my strengths," he said.

"I don't think when I was in Atlanta I got to play to those strengths. But the coaches here got me to play to my strengths and I got better each year. Even if the numbers don't say it from last year to the year before, I got better each year with some things that I've done."

In three seasons with Detroit, Houston has amassed 166 tackles, eight interceptions and defended 37 passes while starting every game he's played in but one.

"My thing was to come here and take it one year at a time and better my game and try to help the team out," Houston said.

"This is somewhere where I think my game has excelled and, you know, I didn't want to go (anywhere) else where the scheme might not fit me."

Detroit seems the perfect fit for Houston - a blue-collar town for a blue-collar player.