As the years of NFL service continue their upward trend for Detroit Lions players Haloti Ngata, 33, and Glover Quin, 31, the age gap between them and rookies entering the league gets wider and wider.
Ngata and Quin are the two most senior members of the Lions' defense. They've logged 310 games between them, including the playoffs.
Detroit's newest flock of rookies will be in Allen Park for a minicamp next weekend, and will shortly thereafter join their veteran teammates for the OTA portion of the offseason training program.
Quin says that's always a fun time for him, as it makes him feel young.
"You've got good young energy and I tell my guys in the defensive back room all the time they keep me young being around a bunch of young guys," Quin said. "Their legs are young, their muscles are young and so they're explosive and springy and happy.
"It kind of keeps you the same way. You always want to compete with them and kind of let them know, 'Hey, even though I'm an older guy, I still got it. I still can do this, I still can do that.'
"I always think you need a good mix of young guys to keep the energy levels good. And I do think you need some older guys to kind of direct the ship. So I think we have a good mix."
Of the nine players drafted by the Lions last weekend, six will join Quin and Ngata on the defensive side of the ball.
Ngata joked that he felt like he was a rookie just yesterday, but understands that as an 11-year veteran he has to take on a mentoring role at times to the young players.
"With all these young draft picks we have at linebacker and DB (defensive back), it's going to be a lot of fun to see how they can help us," Ngata said.
Ngata said his best advice to young players is to take care of their bodies, something that's served him well over a decade-long career.
"They ask you questions about film and technique and you kind of just give them your take and hopefully they can use it," he said.
On top of the six players drafted on defense, Detroit added help via free agency in cornerback DJ Hayden, defensive linemen Cornelius Washington and Akeem Spence and linebacker Paul Worrilow.
The Lions are hoping a good mix of the veteran experience provided by players like Quin and Ngata meshes with that youthful energy the young players bring to the table, and results in Detroit's defense being overall better than it was a season ago.