Kyle Vanden Bosch is the Lions' early bird

SAN FRANCISCO -- So NFC West savant Mike Sando and I rolled into Candlestick Park on Sunday afternoon about 4 1/2 hours prior to the 8:20 p.m. ET kickoff. Mike wanted to be in place for the start of two late-afternoon games in the NFC West, and as the visiting blogger, I was along for the ride.

I like getting to stadiums early, but I'm pretty sure this one set a personal record for me. And I know I've never seen what happened shortly after I got set up in the press box: A player warming up on the field.

Detroit Lions defensive end Kyle Vanden Bosch jogged onto the field here around four hours before kickoff, earlier than the first team bus departed the team hotel. An athletic trainer began stretching him out, and for a second I thought I had the wrong time of kickoff.

Apparently Vanden Bosch is among a group of Lions veterans who ride to the stadium together long before the rest of the team. I like it. There are only 16 of these a year. Why not make the most of each?