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Reeves-Maybin on re-signing in Detroit: 'It's really starting to feel like home'

Dan Campbell and Brad Holmes value special teams play more than most with the way they build the roster and dedicate practice time to teams. That dedication was shown again by bringing back the best special teams player in the NFL last year on a new two-year contract.

The Lions officially signed special teams ace Jalen Reeves-Maybin a couple weeks back, and he was at the training facility Thursday to speak with media.

"It definitely means a lot," Reeves-Maybin said Thursday about the loyalty the Lions showed in bringing him back on a lucrative new deal that pays him among the highest core special teamers in the NFL.

"I've spent so many years of my life here now and it's really starting to feel like home. Raising a family here and it'll be great not having to move again."

View photos of Detroit Lions linebacker Jalen Reeves-Maybin.

Reeves-Maybin was drafted by the Lions in 2017 and played his first five seasons in Detroit. He signed with Houston in free agency in 2022 and spent one season with the Texans before re-signing with Detroit on a one-year deal last offseason.

He's been widely considered one of the best core special teamers in the NFL for years but finally got the recognition he deserved from across the league last season. He earned second-team All-Pro and Pro Bowl honors, tying for the NFL lead with 14 special teams tackles and also playing the critical role of personal protector on punt coverage teams. He converted two fake punts, one on a 31-yard pass to Khalil Dorsey and one on a 3-yard run.

"He does do everything for us," special teams coordinator Dave Fipp said of Reeves-Maybin in January. "And more importantly to me, he really – he takes guys aside when he needs to. I think I spoke about how he's really kind of a leader by example. A lot of what he does is how he leads, but he also has a subtle way of grabbing a guy and giving him some advice or a pointer and really taking the leadership of the whole group under his hands. And he's done a great job with that."

Speaking of that leadership, Reeves-Maybin was named the NFLPA President this offseason.

Not just a special teamer, he also played a key role on defense as a rotational linebacker in passing situations. He had 20 defensive tackles, a sack and two passes defended. He played a total of 121 defensive snaps last season, earning an overall grade of 88.6 with particularly strong marks against the run (93.6) and in pass coverage (73.5), per Pro Football Focus. He's part of a linebacker room that is very stable heading into 2024.

"I think that's what we're about here," Reeves-Maybin said of the gritty mentality this team has. "We never really had a lot of flashy guys and flashy players. Everyone comes in and we go to work have a good time in the locker room and we go out on Sunday play our (butt) off. I just think that's what we are about."

A versatile player like Reeves-Maybin who is all about work and ball is a perfect fit in an environment like this.

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