Pettigrew looking forward to bigger role in Lions new offense

Posted Mar 14, 2014

Pettigrew caught 41 passes last year, the lowest since his rookie season, but he's expecting to have a bigger role in the Lions new offense in 2014

Brandon Pettigrew said the pursuits for his services in free agency were very real, but in the end, he felt most comfortable back in Detroit.

Brandon PettigrewTE Brandon Pettigrew and QB Matthew Stafford (Photo: AP Images)

“One, the dynamic of just being here and already being in a groove with players like Matt (Stafford), Calvin (Johnson), but especially Matt,” Pettigrew said. “Obviously, we got drafted together. We’ve already got that going, and I think that’s important. I love the city. I’m grateful for being able to be here. The city is going through change, as is the organization. It’s just an honor to be a part of that.”

Pettigrew says he’s looking forward to being part of the Lions new-look offense under head coach Jim Caldwell and offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi, as well.

It's a feeling that's mutual from the coaching staff.

“I think, first of all, he’s a fine person who plays the game extremely well, the way it’s supposed to be played," Caldwell said of Pettigrew's new four-year, $16 million contract.

"He gives you a guy that really is a dual threat in terms of being able to handle the end-line blocking on the line of scrimmage, which he does very well. Also, obviously, he’s a threat in the passing game. When you look at what’s going to happen in most cases with the guys that we have on the outside, our inside receivers are going to certainly become a bigger part of our game. So, I think the addition of Brandon is going to be very important for us from an offensive standpoint.”

Pettigrew hasn’t talked in a lot of detail with Caldwell or Lombardi, but said he was impressed by what new tight ends coach Ron Prince said about the team’s plans for him moving forward.

“I think these guys kind of want to open up the game a little bit more,” Pettigrew said. “Spread the ball out a little bit more and try to get the tight ends the ball.

“Knowing what (Lombardi) is coming from (New Orleans) the expectation is that balls will be coming my way a little bit more. It sounds fun. It sounds exciting. “

Pettigrew caught 41 passes for 416 yards and two touchdowns last year, but recorded back-to-back seasons with 71 and 83 receptions, respectively, in 2010 and 2011.

“It was a little bit different role for me this past year,” Pettigrew said of being asked to block more than he had in the past.

But the impression he’s gotten from early talks with coaches is that his receiving numbers could get back to the 2010 and 2011 totals in 2014.