Detroit Lions’ Darius Slay good-natured touting his accomplishments

Lions cornerback Darius Slay celebrates an interception of Chicago Bears quarterback Mitchell Trubisky in Detroit on Saturday. (AP photo)

By NOAH TRISTER
AP Sports Writer
ALLEN PARK — Darius Slay’s cockiness comes with a good-natured touch.
Detroit’s fast-talking cornerback can rattle off his skills and accomplishments — but he never seems to be taking himself all that seriously.
Witness this comment about his growing popularity:
“I mean, I’m a lovable guy. I say it with a smile, I bring a lot of energy and I go out there and give it my hardest. I just think the fans notice that,” Slay said. “I think I’m a great role model for the kids, because a lot of kids love the finger wave.”
Slay’s Dikembe Mutombo-esque gesture with his finger is just part of his charm. After two more interceptions Saturday, the 26-year-old Slay leads the NFL with seven. He’s one of the biggest reasons the Lions have been able to hang around in the NFC playoff race.
The Lions drafted Slay in the second round in 2013, and he’s been a standout in their secondary. Before 2016, they signed him to a four-year extension.
Interception stats can be deceiving for top cornerbacks. Some do such a good job deterring passes that the ball isn’t thrown their way much. Slay had only six interceptions through his first four NFL seasons, but he already has more than that in 2017.
“I think he’s always had an inordinate amount of athletic ability. I mean, you could see that when he first came in the league,” coach Jim Caldwell said.
The Lions (8-6) beat Chicago 20-10 on Saturday. They were outgained but forced three turnovers while only committing one. Detroit’s plus-6 turnover margin on the season is tied for second in the NFC with the Los Angeles Rams.