The Lions told him they didn’t think he was a fit and they weren’t interested in him. Right in front of him during his job interview.
“I was like, 'OK,'" said Killebrew, whose infectious personality seeped through the phone on a conference call. “That was the first time I’ve ever had a team tell me, 'Nah, we don’t want you at all.' I was like, 'OK.' I didn’t know how to react. I just took it and said, ‘OK, was there anything else you wanted to ask me? Was that it?’
“I think I took it well, because the coach told me he liked the way I handled it. I was disappointed. But hey, I’m not disappointed anymore, that’s for sure.”
Turns out the Lions and safeties coach Alan Williams were just messing with Killebrew the entire time -- something made obvious Saturday when he became the No. 111 overall pick of the 2016 draft to the Lions.
Killebrew said Williams told him after the team drafted that they were testing him to see how he would handle that type of situation in front of them. The 6-foot-2, 217-pound safety clearly impressed the Lions enough to retain Detroit’s interest throughout the process.
Yet the Senior Bowl meeting stuck with Killebrew. When he saw his phone ring and heard he would be a Detroit Lion, he was pretty surprised. He had no idea the Lions would actually take him.
And it turned into one of the biggest days of his life. As he was on the phone with the Lions, he was also heading to Southern Utah where he is graduating Saturday with a degree in engineering.
“When I got the call, I froze for a second kind of like a deer in headlights when I saw the phone ringing,” Killebrew said. “And man, Detroit Lions, woooo, I’m still kind of geeking about it a little bit here in the car.”
So Saturday became more than just a graduation day for Killebrew. It turned into the day he got a job as well after one of the more confusing interviews of his life.
“They said they were just giving me a hard time and they look forward to having me come into rookie minicamp,” Killebrew said. “Coach said, he told me, he just wanted to see how I would react and so he’s looking forward to working with me and just giving me a hard time.”