After 'bitter' breakup with Lions, Graham Glasgow is thrilled to be back


Had it been up to Graham Glasgow, he would have stayed with the Lions when he hit free agency for the first time three years ago. But the former regime never made him an offer. Never even reached out. Bob Quinn and Matt Patricia decided the Lions were better off without Glasgow, who wound up signing a $44 million contract with the Broncos.

The new regime decided just the opposite last week, bringing the veteran offensive lineman back to Detroit on a one-year, $4.5 million deal. Glasgow will compete for a starting job at guard on what looks like one of the best fronts in the NFL, featuring two of his old pals in Frank Ragnow and Taylor Decker.

"There’s no better place for me to prove myself than where I’ve already proved myself before," Glasgow said Monday upon returning to town.

Glasgow, now 30, arrived in Detroit in 2016 as a third-round pick who quickly became a key cog for the Lions, starting 58 games in the trenches over the next four seasons. He proved he could play guard, then proved he could play center, then proved he could play guard again, at least to everyone but Quinn and Patricia. When the Lions spurned him in free agency, Glasgow admitted Monday, "I was bitter, yeah."

And upon hearing the clacking of keyboards as reporters rushed to share his feelings with the world, he deadpanned, "Jeez, a lot of typing. Can I retract that statement?" He hasn't missed a beat.

"I came to grips with it pretty quickly," Glasgow went on. "And I had no ill will against the Lions or any of my old teammates. I wanted them all to do well and succeed."

So Glasgow didn't have to think twice about a potential reunion. In fact, when the Broncos released him from the final year of his contract in a cap-saving move last week, "I told my agent right away that this was a place I was very interested in," he said, "and I wanted to gauge their interest in me."

"And they were interested," Glasgow said. "It came down to, like, here, San Francisco a little bit, Carolina a little bit, but I was mainly just on the train of, like, if we can get the contract to somewhere that I would be fine with it, I want to go through with it as soon as possible. And that’s what happened."

The Lions were at the top of Glasgow's list for a few reasons: "I wanted to be a part of that O-line room, I wanted to be back with my buddies and I wanted to be a part of this team." He mentioned Decker and Ragnow and said "being around guys who I genuinely like being around and enjoy seeing every day is going to be great." He also said that as he was "looking for places to go," the thought of stepping into a strong offensive line was "really enticing."

"Just seeing how good they’ve been so far, you don’t get many opportunities to go join a place that already has an established line," Glasgow said.

And echoing other free agents who have signed with Detroit this offseason, Glasgow said he was impressed with the way the team finished last season after a 1-6 start. The Lions will likely enter 2023 as favorites in the NFC North, which is a long way from where Glasgow left them in 2020, coming off their third straight last-place finish and destined to fire their GM and head coach the next season.

"Seeing how they started last year 1-6 and ended up winning eight of their last (10) games, it takes a certain type of team and a certain group of players to be able to do that, to have the mental strength, because a lot of people would just throw in the towel at that point," Glasgow said. "Seeing them go out there and succeed made me really want to come here and be a part of it as well."

Ultimately, Glasgow chose to return to the place where his career began because it just might end here in storybook fashion, because "to come back and have success for the fans and also for the players who have been here for a long time and through hard times would be amazing," he said.

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