Detroit Lions defensive line gets into the holiday sweater spirit

ALLEN PARK, Mich. -- Caraun Reid's face lit up Monday afternoon. Holding the Rudolph ugly Christmas sweater left for him earlier in the day at the Detroit Lions facility, the rookie defensive lineman and Princeton graduate giddily told his own story of ugly Christmas sweaters past.

"It was just one weird one with reindeer," Reid said. "I wore it with red suspenders and corduroy pants. It was wonderful.

"Anything I can do to stand out and show people I'm not mean."

The Lions' defensive line stood out in one very obvious way Monday. They had all worn ugly Christmas sweaters -- thought to have been purchased by Ndamukong Suh -- for a defensive line group photo. Some were still wearing them as the media entered the locker room Monday, including Larry Webster having one with a snowman with a disembodied head and Devin Taylor with a green onesie.

It was all part of the Christmas spirit for the Lions' defensive line -- the tightest group of players on the Detroit Lions.

"You never know what's going to happen in the D-line room each and every day," defensive tackle Andre Fluellen said. "And I guess that's how it's supposed to be. We're all tight-knit, all close together so we can wear ugly sweaters together if we need to."

This isn't the first time the defensive line has bonded together over sweater-wear right after Thanksgiving. A year ago, after Josh Sitton called the Detroit Lions a bunch of "dirtbags," the Lions had shirts made with the word printed on it after Detroit annihilated Green Bay, 40-10.

This season was a kinder, gentler, friendlier choice in clothing -- and one that the defensive line could laugh about.

"I forgot all about that," Fluellen said. "So I guess went from dirtbags to ugly Santa Clauses."

Except this season, the Lions' defense can be described as more Grinch-like than ever before, with the league's top run defense and a unit ranked in the top 10 in almost every statistical category.