Lawrence Jackson hoping to remain in Detroit and have a more defined role

Posted Mar 8, 2013

Soon-to-be free agent defensive end Lawrence Jackson says he would like to remain with the Detroit Lions for a chance to compete at both defensive end positions

Cliff Avril seems poised to test the open market when free agency begins at 4 p.m. on Tuesday, which will leave a big hole on the left edge of the Detroit Lions' defensive line.

Detroit Lions general manager Martin Mayhew and Co. are on the lookout for a potential replacement, but there's one player the Lions know a good deal about, who thinks he can fit the bill.

In an interview on Sirius NFL Radio, Wednesday, reserve defensive end Lawrence Jackson, whom the team traded for before the 2010 season, said he'd like to remain with the organization and have a chance to win the left defensive end job.

"I love the organization," Jackson said. "I think anytime you have an opportunity to play with two young studs in Nick Fairley and Ndamukong Suh that's a huge plus.

"With Kyle (Vanden Bosch) being released and Cliff (Avril) having an expiring contract opens up the door for an ideal return for me. I felt like the last couple years I played right defensive end for scheme purposes and I feel like if Cliff doesn't come back, it'll open up a chance for me to play a position I feel I'm more natural and productive at and that's the left defensive end."

Jackson, an unrestricted free agent himself, played the third-most snaps at defensive end last year behind Avril (686) and Vanden Bosch (641) with 384. He finished with 20 tackles and 2.5 sacks. Jackson had 4.5 sacks in 2011 and 6.0 in 2010, respectively, having never started a game for the Lions in his three seasons in Detroit.

"Moving forward I know I have the comfort to play both sides, but being able to find a home and kind of create the production I know is expected out of me, I feel like having the opportunity to play left end for the Lions would be ideal," he said.

Jackson said the Lions and his agent (Michael Sullivan) haven't had a whole lot of dialogue leading up to free agency, but is hopeful that ratchets up over the next few days.

More than anything, Jackson said he wants to play for a team – Detroit or any other – that has a plan for him.

"That's something I'm looking for," Jackson said. "I'm not necessarily too concerned about the money because, from a business perspective, I'm like a small start-up company waiting for a nice angel investor to come in and say, 'We believe in your product and we want to take your bid.'

"I know I won't command some of the big contracts that some of the defensive ends are getting, but I know I can work myself to that level of respect."

Jackson seems confident in his abilities and is looking for his opportunity to shine.