While Matt Patricia was recently demoted by Bill Belichick after a failed stint as offensive play-caller for the Patriots, Darius Slay is coming off his fifth Pro Bowl season, his second with the Eagles, and preparing to play in his first Super Bowl. The cream always rises, right?
Five years ago, Patricia arrived in Detroit and told the Lions' best player he was no good, ripped him in front of the whole team for posting a picture with Odell Beckham Jr. on Instagram, then kicked him to the curb two years later with the help of then-Lions GM Bob Quinn in exchange for a couple courtesy draft picks from the Eagles.
Patricia would be kicked to the curb himself after three disastrous seasons as head coach.
“It was just weird how he came in like he was bigger and better than all of us,” Slay told reporters Monday in Phoenix on the opening night of Super Bowl media week. “He was acting like we asked to be there. We do get selected. That was the crazy part about him.”
Slay was selected by the Lions in the second round of the 2013 draft and went on to establish himself as one of the best corners in the NFL. He's the league's active leader in passes defended (133). After being named first-team All-Pro in 2017 when he led the NFL in both passes defended and picks, Slay spent some of the offseason training with fellow star cornerbacks Richard Sherman, Aqib Talib and Xavier Rhodes.
Patricia told him in one of their first meetings the next season, "Those are elite guys. You’re not elite."
“He basically just said, ‘You are not in that category yet,’" Slay said Monday. “At that time, I only had one Pro Bowl but now I’m at five, so I want to know how he feels about that now. I don’t wish bad on him, but as a man, me and him just don’t get along. He’s a smart coach, he knows his Xs and Os, but the disrespect is not what I’m with.”
There's no disrespecting Slay now. There never was in the first place, but for a head coach in over his head. Patricia is a "senior football advisor" in New England these days who will be watching Slay on TV Sunday night. When he sees him flash across the screen and break up a pass and wag his finger to the crowd, maybe he'll remember where he went wrong with the Lions.
The rest of Detroit might have a different finger for Patricia.
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