Parkston native performs well in first preseason game against Cleveland, Lions coach saysLife in the NFL is good, Riley Reiff says. The Parkston native and first-round draft pick for the Detroit Lions is enjoying training camp. Each time he talks about his progression in the NFL, he continues with the same theme, always looking to improve.
By: Luke Hagen, The Daily Republic
Life in the NFL is good, Riley Reiff says.
The Parkston native and first-round draft pick for the Detroit Lions is enjoying training camp. Each time he talks about his progression in the NFL, he continues with the same theme, always looking to improve.
“I’m just looking to get better every day,” Reiff told The Daily Republic by phone after Monday’s practice. “I feel like I’m pretty settled in here now. I’ve met all the guys and have been up here for a while. I’m just building bonds and looking to get better every day.”
Reiff said he’s progressed in different areas since he’s entered the NFL, including getting more familiar with the speed of the game, improving his technique and knowing the playbook better.
“This is the NFL, everyone brings their hardhat every day and so do I,” Reiff said. “You have to go to work. … The only thing you can control as football players is your attitude and your effort, and I try to bring that every day. No matter if you’re dragging and took 100 reps or whatever, you just have to keep going.”
Reiff received solid grades in his first NFL preseason game Friday against Cleveland, playing as a part of the second-team offensive line unit that protected Lions backup quarterback Shaun Hill.
Heading into the game, Reiff was listed as the backup left tackle on the team’s depth chart. Veteran Jeff Backus is listed as the starter.
Still, the group Reiff was a part of against the Browns led the Lions to two touchdown drives, but the team blew a 14-3 lead and lost 19-17 on a late field goal.
Lions head coach Jim Schwartz specifically mentioned Reiff’s play against Cleveland in a press conference Sunday when recapping the game.
“He played well,” Schwartz said. “He played a lot of snaps, which with our tackle situation and everything else, he got a lot of work in and was very consistent. I mean he was playing in the second half of the game, but he did a really nice job and it was good to see from him. It’s been part of his progression; he’s improved every single day like we’ve talked about and it translated to the game.”
Reiff said Friday’s first preseason game, played at Detroit’s Ford Field, was a great chance to hit players other than the ones he sees daily in practice. Lions starting quarterback Matt Stafford went 4-for-7 passing with 51 yards in the game, while the team’s top receiver Calvin Johnson caught two passes for 36 yards.
Meeting the team’s top players has been enjoyable, said Reiff, who has also taken snaps in training camp at the guard positions and at right tackle.
“All the guys that have been around in the NFL for a long time, there’s a reason that they’ve been around,” Reiff said. “This is a hard business. … They’re all good guys, Calvin, Matt, (defensive lineman) Kyle Vanden Bosch. They’re great people. As a younger player, I try to pick their minds as much as I can.
“If they’ve been around that long, they must be doing something right.”
The 23rd overall draft pick signed his rookie contract late last month, agreeing to a four-year deal worth just under $8 million, with $6.5 million guaranteed. The signing bonus was $4.25 million.
Despite collecting the biggest check of his life, Reiff hasn’t splurged on himself or his family yet, he said. Instead, he’s focused solely on football.
“I’ve been too busy with football,” he said, “so maybe I’ll take my parents out to eat or I’ll cook them a meal.”
South Dakotans will get a prime opportunity to see Reiff in action this week. The Lions take on the Baltimore Ravens in a nationally televised game at 7 p.m. Friday on Fox, another game Reiff — who wears jersey No. 71 — is expected to see several minutes of playing time.