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O'HARA: Brockers working to be part of 'new era' in Lions football

Defensive tackle Michael Brockers didn't come to the Detroit Lions to take a role as an alpha personality and team captain.

He is here to fit in on a team in transition, with a new coaching staff and front office, and expectations of developing a new culture.

There is a lot in Brockers' background that makes him a natural leader and sounding board for any new teammates seeking guidance. Brockers is more than willing to share what he has learned from his nine seasons with the Rams as a consistently productive and durable player.

For now, with the first day of training camp acclimation period practice under the Lions' collective belts, Brockers' primary focus is to take care of his own business. That means getting ready for the 2021 season.

"I'm just trying to come in and be one of the guys," Brockers said Wednesday.

Head coach Dan Campbell gave Brockers something of a buildup after the Lions acquired him in a trade with the Rams. Brockers is sticking with a lower profile for now.

"I didn't want all that," Brockers said. "I just wanted to come in, work hard, and really gain a lot of trust of the guys just from my work ethic and show them what I've been doing and what I learned.

"If there's any little knowledge I can give the guys, I'll share it. I didn't come in to 'roo roo' and say I'm a captain. I want to come in, work my butt off and show these guys why they brought me here."

Brockers checks a lot of boxes – good experiences and bad – on his NFL resume. Collectively, they make him a good sounding board for any player in need of help navigating the often hazardous waters that are part of life in the NFL.

Brockers entered the NFL as a first-round draft pick by the Rams – then in St. Louis – in 2012. Brockers had a solid career with the Rams. He missed only six games as a nine-year starter, playing 138 games with 136 starts.

He had to deal with some turmoil, including the Rams' move from St. Louis to Los Angeles in 2016.

And the Rams were one of the NFL's biggest losers when he arrived. They went 13 seasons – 2004-16—without a winning record.

The Rams finally got on the winning side in 2017 to begin a streak of four straight winning seasons, three playoff appearances and a trip to the Super Bowl for the 2018 team.

Brockers can relate to the current Lions' players who've experienced coaching changes. The Rams fired Jeff Fisher during the 2016 season and replaced him in 2017 with current head coach Sean McVay.

"This a new era," Brockers said. "I've been part of a new regime coming in – having that unknown factor."

Brockers has embraced Campbell's coaching style, and how he has stocked his staff with assistants who have played in the NFL. Campbell played 10 NFL seasons as a blocking-specialist tight end who was known for his toughness.

Campbell joined the players to do the up-down drill Wednesday.

"It shows us, he'll get on the ground," Brockers said. "He'll get in the grind, too. You gain a lot of experiences from a guy who'll get on that grind. We definitely gained a lot of respect for him."

Brockers' personality already has shone through in a way similar to Campbell joining Wednesday's camp conditioning drill.

After he finished his conditioning drill on reporting day Tuesday, Brockers engaged in some trash talk with players still working to finish.

"That's my personality," Brockers said. "That's just me. I've always been that guy who gives players a little mess here and there just to see where their mind's at.

"It's just part of my personality."

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