As the longest-tenured player on the Detroit Lions, Taylor Decker has experienced his share of rough seasons. However, his positive attitude and gratitude for his life have helped him maintain perspective through it all.
“We’ve had some shit seasons here. But, man, I have a f–king great life,” Decker himself has stated. “Why am I going to come into the building and be all ‘Woe is me. Life sucks.’ Which, guys can get like that. I’ve gotten like that before. But you just put that into perspective with what you’re fortunate to have.”
Unleashing the Warrior Within
Despite his massive size and intimidating appearance, Decker is a sensitive, family-oriented man who struggled to embrace the violence of football in his youth. However, his strong sense of accountability and loyalty to his teammates allows him to tap into a fierce warrior spirit on the field.
The Lions’ offensive line isn’t just a group of players – it’s a family. Decker’s commitment to his teammates is evident, as he strives to do his best for them rather than focusing solely on his own performance.
“You want to do your best for them,” Decker adds, “because that’s more powerful than trying to do your best for yourself.”
The Young Lions and the Leader
With one of the youngest rosters in the league, the Detroit Lions have embraced a youth-oriented approach. As a leader on the team, Decker aims to instill confidence in his fellow players, understanding that it can make or break a player’s career.
Decker, an Ohio State alum, was drafted by the Lions in the first round in 2016. His leadership qualities were already evident, as he had been voted an “Iron Buckeye” three times and was a three-year starter for the Buckeyes.
An AFC scout once said about Decker, “I hope you kill this guy because I would love for him to fall to us. He’s strong and tough. You can beat him up with this or that, but he’ll be a long-¬time starting right tackle in the league for years.”
Leading the Charge for Confidence and Success
As a veteran left tackle, Decker knows that confidence is vital for his fellow offensive linemen. He makes it his mission to help build up his teammates, even those who are new to the team or stepping into unfamiliar roles.
His leadership extends to working closely with promising young talent like Penei Sewell, with whom he shares a goal of dominating the field and setting a confident tone for the rest of the offensive line. Under Decker’s guidance, the Lions have achieved impressive success on the ground, and through the air.
Decker said he told starting right tackle Penei Sewell before the team’s first win that the two needed to dominate, setting the confident tone for the rest of the room. “I spoke to him before the game, I was like, ‘me and you have to dominate. We got to dominate.’ Because if we’re out there playing confident, then the guys next to us will go out there and play confident.”
A Conscience for the Team
Decker’s love for his teammates is evident, as he shares a special bond with those who put in the hard work alongside him. He says, “I’m not afraid to say that I love all those guys. And I have their back out there on the field. Because we just do hard shit every single day and we do it together. You can’t replicate that bond in many other professions.”
Having been with the Lions for seven years, Taylor Decker has experienced more downs than ups. But his unwavering dedication to his team and his desire to win are stronger than ever. “Losing is the f–king worst,” he admits.
A Journey Through Tattoos and Life
One way to gain insight into Decker’s life is through his vast collection of tattoos, which cover his arms, chest, back, and even fingers. Initially, he only chose tattoos with deep personal meaning, but now his ink includes everything from totem poles to a stick of dynamite.
Some of his tattoos honor his brothers, Adam and Justin, who served in the Marine Corps and Navy, respectively. The bond he shares with his brothers, particularly Justin, helps explain his emotional connection to military service and hometown hero events during Lions games.
More Than Just a Football Player
Decker’s diverse interests extend beyond the football field. As an animal science major in college, his passion for animals runs deep. When head coach Dan Campbell mentioned wanting a real baby lion at the team’s facility, Decker was likely all for including more animals into the Detroit Lions “culture.”
His tattoos further reflect his love for animals, with a lion on his chest honoring his late grandmother and an enraged gorilla on his left arm symbolizing loyalty, control, and protection.
The Future of the Detroit Lions
Under the guidance and leadership of Taylor Decker, the young Detroit Lions have the potential to rise above their past struggles and achieve greatness. With a strong foundation of loyalty, determination, and confidence, the team is well-equipped to face whatever challenges lie ahead. The Lions may be expected to win the NFC North, however, we all know nothing in the NFL is guaranteed.
As Decker and his teammates continue to forge a deep bond on and off the field, their commitment to one another and their shared desire for victory will undoubtedly propel the Lions towards success.
To reiterate, Taylor Decker is more than just an exceptional football player; he is a devoted brother, a compassionate leader, and a fierce protector of those he loves. His story serves as a testament to the power of perseverance, loyalty, and unwavering determination in the face of adversity. As the Detroit Lions continue their journey, they can rely on Decker to guide and support them every step of the way.
Tweet:@WoodwoodSports or comment on your favorite social media platform!
For more content from the author, Matt Broder, follow him on Twitter, Instagram and TikTok
Featured Image Credit: Philip G. Pavely-USA TODAY Sports