It's probably worth your time to listen to this podcast of Detroit Lions defensive end Kyle Vanden Bosch, who spoke this week with the Tennessee Titans' radio network. I think it will help you understand some of the intangibles the Lions picked up when they signed him as a free agent last season, as well as illuminating the key team role he could play this offseason.
Vanden Bosch said he has organized group workouts for Lions players in the Detroit area if a lockout takes place. (During a lockout, all conditioning and any other player contact would be banned at team facilities.) They could range from lifting sessions to 7-on-7 drills, he said, and presumably would include drafted rookies if a lockout extends that long.
"We've taken some big steps," Vanden Bosch said. "We ended last season on a high note. We need to continue to take those steps. Regardless of the labor situation, my responsibility, as a captain and a leader of this team, is to make sure we're moving forward."
Players from many NFL teams have made similar plans, but given the Lions' meandering leadership in recent years, I wonder if anyone else would have taken charge this offseason the way Vanden Bosch has. There is no doubt he was a big part of the Lions' elevated defensive line play before injuring his neck last season, but I remain convinced that Vanden Bosch's top contribution was adding a new level of intensity and leadership to the defense and locker room.
"Anybody that's been around Kyle Vanden Bosch understands why I was at his doorstep last year," Lions coach Jim Schwartz said last month at the scouting combine.
If there is a lockout, Vanden Bosch will be busy organizing Lions team events. But he said he could also make time for a wrestling match against New York Jets linebacker Bart Scott, who recently made a TNA wrestling appearance. In 2008, you might remember, Vanden Bosch organized "KVB Birthday Brawl" with NFL players and TNA wrestlers in Nashville. The event raised $90,000 for charity.
"There's no question I'd win," Vanden Bosch said. "Bart Scott, I guarantee you he can get on the microphone and he can definitely out-talk me. But if it came down to just pure wrestling, I'd whoop him."