Darius Slay says being a father forced him to grow up quickly

Posted Apr 30, 2013

When Slay slipped to the second round of the draft, he made the best of a tough situation ... something he's be doing since he was 15 years old

Darius SlayCB Darius Slay (Photo: AP Images)

Darius Slay sat in the Green Room in New York at the NFL Draft all Thursday night waiting for his name to be called by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. Unfortunately, that moment never came for him on Thursday. 

Slay slipped into Friday's second round, where he was drafted by the Detroit Lions No. 36 overall.

He still had his moment on stage, though, with former Lions receiver Herman Moore calling his name.

"My family and I just stayed there," Slay said told reporters in Allen Park during a Saturday press conference.

"I planned on leaving, but my mom told me to stay because I work hard for what I deserve. You only get drafted once, so I wanted to walk off stage and enjoy every moment of it."

Slay made the most of a tough situation, which is what he's been doing since he was 15 years old.

Slay found out he was going to be a father at the age of 15. At the time, he thought about dropping out of high school to get a job to support his son, Darion.

But his mother, Stephanie Lowe, wouldn't have it.

"It was rough for me, but my mom stayed in my corner," Slay said. "I thought it was the end of the world. But my mom told me keep pushing because I felt like I had to quit school to maybe take care of my son.

"So, my mom just helped me out a lot. She kept him while I was in school. When I got back, it was daddy time. I did my job when I got back. My mom made sure (I went) to school (to) graduate. That's what I did."

That's why it had to be a particularly special moment for Slay to have his son -- now five – and mother with him in New York to see him fulfill his dream.

"I enjoyed every bit of it," he said. "You know, I had my mom down there with me."

As for Darion, he wasn't quite sure what took so long to finally join his dad on stage in New York.

"The only thing he understands is why I wasn't on the TV yet," Slay said.

"He was worried about why I didn't get drafted yet. He knew I was supposed to go. He (was) like, 'Dad, I'm ready to leave.' He was ready for me to just walk on the stage and get it over with."

Slay had to grow up quick because of Darion and he thinks that will serve him well in the NFL.

"I developed as a man at a young age. I grew up early," he said. "Basically, I knew I put myself in position to not make mistakes again."

Slay (6-0, 192) will have an opportunity to compete for a starting cornerback spot for the Lions in the fall.

"You know, I'm just coming here to compete and get better every day," he said. "That's my goal, come in and work hard. That's what I did at Mississippi State and that's what I'm going to continue to do."