MIKE O'HARA

Hitting Johnny Football no big deal for Larry Webster

Posted Aug 13, 2014

Rookie defensive end Larry Webster is “the guy” in one of the most watched highlight plays of last week’s preseason games.

Larry Webster is “the guy” in one of the most watched highlight plays of last week’s preseason games. He’s the player who put a hit on Johnny Manziel in the third quarter of the Lions’ preseason game against the Browns Saturday night.

Hitting any quarterback besides Johnny Manziel on what became an incomplete pass wouldn’t have gotten much attention. But hitting Johnny Football got noticed.

Larry WebsterDE Larry Webster (Photo: Detroit Lions)

For Webster, a rookie defensive end drafted in the fourth round out of Bloomsburg, hitting the 2012 Heisman trophy winner from Texas A&M was no big deal.

“Just the same as hitting anybody else,” Webster said after Wednesday’s practice.

His only regret was not hitting Manziel soon enough to sack him.

“I was pretty close,” Webster said. “He got the ball just out. Then I got the hit on him. I wish he still had the ball.”

Webster is a development project who impressed NFL scouts with his athletic ability and production at Bloomsburg. He played four seasons of basketball at Bloomsburg, then switched to football for two more seasons, which is allowed under NCAA rules.

Webster had 12.5 sacks in 2013. His Combine workouts in February were among the best of any of the defensive ends. His time of 4.58 seconds in the 40-yard dash was second only to the 4.53 time run by Jadeveon Clowney, drafted first overall by Houston.

Defensive tackle C.J. Mosley, beginning his 10th pro season and second with the Lions, has noticed how Webster is improving.
“He looks pretty good,” Mosley said. “He started off kind of slow in the beginning, but he’s turned it up lately.”

Webster had an advantage over most Division II players in making the jump to the NFL because his father, Larry Sr., played defensive line for 11 NFL seasons. Still, it is a significant leap from Bloomsburg to training camp with the Lions.

“It’s no different than what I expected,” Webster said. “You’ve got to prove yourself and try to get better. It’s really good to go against good opponents and better guys. Since I was going into it out of the blue, you’ve got to expect the unexpected.”