Detroit Lions have their own fantasy league

ALLEN PARK, Mich. -- Ryan Broyles and Kevin Ogletree stood in the middle of the Detroit Lions locker room Thursday afternoon deep in conversation while also staring intently at their phones.

Sometimes in NFL locker rooms, players on their phones is nothing new, but for the two wide receivers, this was all unfamiliar. Earlier in the week, they were two of the Lions who participated in a new type of team bonding activity.

Yes, some of the Detroit Lions have their own fantasy league for fun.

"I was the last one there," Ogletree said. "I guess they needed one extra person so they called me last."

The draft took place earlier this week -- a photo was posted on tight end Joseph Fauria's Instagram account -- and while multiple Lions wouldn't give complete details of the league, Broyles, Ogletree, Eric Ebron, Golden Tate, Sam Martin and Fauria are among the participants.

Some, like the rookie Ebron, have played fantasy football for years. Ogletree and Broyles were neophytes, both saying this was the first time they were going through it. And in typical first-time fashion, Broyles ended up with the No. 1 overall pick, where he took Philadelphia running back LeSean McCoy. Ogletree, who picked third, took Jamaal Charles first, didn't draft himself but did manage to snag Fauria. Late.

"Running backs get points," Broyles said, somewhat giving away his strategy.

There's no doubt the Lions will be competitive with this -- as professional athletes, they end up being competitive in everything they do -- but they are also doing it for fun and as one more way to bond.

"Pretty much all of our [ideas]," Ebron said. "We just thought about doing a little something, getting together and having a little fun with it."

No doubt, though, there is pride involved. Ebron drafted Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers with his first pick -- he drafted eighth -- and took himself with his last pick, and as his sleeper. Ebron had strategy involved, too. He drafted some people he actually knows, including receivers Keenan Allen and Michael Crabtree, but got caught in the familiar bye week trap in later rounds, so he had to bypass other players he wanted.

Ebron also drafted Detroit kicker Nate Freese "because I believe that dude has a foot." Ebron has some experience, too, and like many others who play fantasy -- he has had his team come close to a championship only to be virtually beat in the end.

"I think I came in second last year," Ebron said of the league he was in at UNC. "I got beat because one of my friends got Peyton Manning and he was killing."

Now that's something fantasy players around the country can sympathize with and bond over.