Matt Patricia doesn’t seem like a very big social media guy, so he’s probably blissfully unaware he was trending on Twitter on Monday night.
If he were on Twitter, any good vibes the Patriots coach felt after New England secured its first win of the season Sunday in Pittsburgh might have dissipated. That’s because he was in the crosshairs of long-tortured Detroit Lions fans dating back to Patricia’s tenure as head coach in the Motor City, one that failed spectacularly.
The Philadelphia Eagles beat the Minnesota Vikings 24-7 at Lincoln Financial Field on Monday night. On the surface, it’s a game that has little to no impact whatsoever on Patricia or the Lions, but the play of Philly cornerback Darius Slay had Motown wondering what could have been. Slay picked off Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins twice, and that induced some football PTSD for long-suffering Lions fans.
First, the backstory: Patricia had two-plus really bad seasons in Detroit that ultimately led to players celebrating when he lost his job. One of Patricia’s biggest missteps came in how he handled Slay. The Lions ultimately traded him to Philly for a pair of draft picks, and Slay eventually revealed he felt mistreated by his former boss.
Coming off a 2017 season in which Slay was an All-Pro, Patricia apparently told Slay he wasn’t elite.
“That told me right there that he didn’t have no respect for me,” Slay told ESPN.com in 2020. “He told me I was a good player but then to tell me what I’m not, so I said, OK. I just took that to the chin and said, ‘OK, that’s cool.'”
Patricia also apparently took issue with a social media post from Slay in which he praised Odell Beckham Jr. Patricia, in profane fashion, called him out in a team meeting. That didn’t go over well, either, as one might imagine.
Slay’s Detroit teammates, many of whom didn’t seem too fond of Patricia, backed the cornerback.
“Darius, to his credit, zero reaction, zero response,” an unnamed player told ESPN.com. “He handled that (expletive) like a G. Because that was wild. … Grown men to grown men, you just don’t talk to someone that way.”
The two never saw eye-to-eye, as Slay told ESPN he lost all respect for the coach, and it eventually led to both sides moving on. The wound is still fresh in Detroit, it seems.
Here are some of the (safe-for-work) complaints from Lions fans Monday night.
Patricia obviously has bigger things to worry about at the moment. He’s busy trying to get the Patriots’ offense up and running. Only the Cowboys and Colts have scored fewer points than New England through two weeks.
The Patriots continue their search for improvement Sunday when they host the Baltimore Ravens at Gillette Stadium.
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