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O'HARA: Decker entering 2021 season as longest-tenured Lion

Age is a relative statistic, and offensive tackle Taylor Decker is a relatively old, experienced player on the Detroit Lions' roster.

He isn't the Lions' oldest player at the age of 28, and he's not the most experienced as he begins his sixth season.

But on a roster that has gotten dramatically younger overall under the new regime of general manager Brad Holmes and head coach Dan Campbell, Decker ranks as the most experienced Lion in terms of seniority with the franchise.

No player on the 2021 roster has been with the Lions as long as Decker, who came to the Lions in 2016 as a first-round draft pick from Ohio State.

Decker joked when asked about his seniority status after Monday's practice.

"Oh yeah," he said. "I feel it in my knees."

"It's strange," he said. "We've got a really young team. When I first got here, we had guys in their 30s. Now we've probably only got a couple.

"I joke that I feel like I'm 32, but I'm not. I'm happy that I the guy who's still here. I want to be here and I want to be a winner."

Decker has become accustomed to change, both on the roster, front office and coaching staff in his tenure with the Lions.

"Change happens every single year in this league," he said. "It's inevitable. It is what it is. From the day you get in this league as a player, you're fighting to stay in that spot. You're fighting to keep that spot.

"We've had some really good energy around here. This change has been positive. A lot of guys competing out here, a lot of new faces. A lot of competition at every single position.

"I've said it before, I'll welcome any change if it helps us win. We've lost a lot more than I'd like to around here. I'd like to see Detroit welcome a winner. Anyone who can help us win – any coach, any staff member, any player, I'm all for it."

View photos from Detroit Lions practice on Monday, Aug. 30, 2021.

From Day One, Decker has said how much he likes how Campbell built his staff of assistants with former players who've also had coaching experience.

That feeling has not changed. If anything, Decker appreciates it even more after having gone through an offseason and training camp to bring the team to the brink of the launch of the regular season that is only 12 days away.

"They listen to what guys say," Decker said. "It doesn't mean they're going to roll with it, but they want to hear what you have to say as a player."

Decker appreciates Campbell's forthright approach with players.

"You've got to know where you stand," Decker said. "Him being the coach, that's what he should be. He shouldn't be BSing anybody, trying to make them feel good by stroking their ego.

"If you're supposed to be a a really good player, you'll play good for us. If you're a development player, I need to see you getting better every single day.

"If you're a fast guy, you need to play fast. He's not going to sugar coat it, and he shouldn't."

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