Cornerback Darius Slay has his game plan prepared for when the Eagles land in Detroit on Saturday and settle in at the team hotel: He's going to jump in a car and head to his favorite chicken spot, Captain Jay's Fish & Chicken. He knows the spot well from the seven seasons Slay spent in Detroit as a three-time Pro Bowl and one-season All-Pro performer for the Lions.
He's heading back to Detroit for the first time since the Lions traded him to Philadelphia prior to the 2020 season. There isn't a hint of revenge or "I'm going to show you" on Slay's mind. He told the media on Wednesday that he enjoyed his time with the Lions, a team that used a second-round pick (36th overall) in the 2013 NFL Draft on him.
Sunday is going to be special, yes, but it's going to be just another football game for the Eagles to go out and try to win.
"The only thing that's different is that's like my second home. I was there for seven years. I appreciate Martin Mayhew (former Lions general manager) taking a chance on drafting me, the Lions organization for taking a chance on me being there," Slay said. "I've got a lot of family there. I built a lot of relationships, so it's a good home visit for me. I appreciate the fans, for sure. I'm real big in the community there, so it's going to be a good feeling to be in Detroit."
Slay said it was "great the way things ended" in Detroit and that "I'm here now." The Eagles know they face a Detroit team that is going to fight and scratch for a victory, so his focus is on a Lions offense that features quarterback Jared Goff, tight end T.J. Hockenson, running back D'Andre Swift, and some young and talented wide receivers.
This is the second of back-to-back road games for the Eagles, who would love nothing more than to get to 3-5 on Sunday. Another strong performance from Slay, who has a pair of interceptions and 29 total tackles while playing 99 percent of the defensive snaps, is certainly the plan for No. 2.
"I'm still playing great," said Slay, always confident, a required personality trait to play the position in the NFL. "Shoot, the only thing is I don't have as many picks as I had in Detroit, but other than that I started off good, finishing off good. I remember a couple of bad games I had in Detroit. I've only had a couple here. I'm playing well, where I need to be. I can always get better and I'm going to continue to get better."
Fellow cornerback Avonte Maddox, a fourth-round draft pick in 2018, was born in Detroit and plays his first NFL game on Sunday in his hometown, plans to have his family and friends at the game. He's fired up for the occasion.
"It's going to be fun seeing everybody and having a game with my people in the stands," said Maddox, a Lions fan as a youngster who has a Lions tattoo on his arm. "Once the game starts it will be business as usual, but hopefully I can see everybody before that and have a few minutes with them. I'm proud to be an Eagle and I'm proud to be in the NFL, so it will be special for me."