Though he turned a few heads after a confrontation with cornerback Jeff Okudah on Sunday, several Detroit Lions players defended defensive backs coach Aubrey Pleasant on Wednesday afternoon.
Pleasant was seen during Detroit’s loss to the San Francisco 49ers screaming at Okudah on the sideline after 49ers running back Elijah Mitchell broke out for a 38-yard touchdown in the first half.
“I’m going to make it real clear,” cornerback Amani Oruwariye said Wednesday, via the Detroit Free Press. “Everyone has particular relationships with Coach Pleasant. He came here and really challenged everyone because he sees the potential in everyone and he really wants to just light that flare under every single guy. And he has different relationships, different ways of going about that with everyone. But at the end of the day, it’s two guys just wanting to be great.”
Pleasant’s heated exchange with Okudah
Pleasant was seen on the Fox broadcast yelling at Okudah on the bench and repeatedly pointing a finger at the cornerback’s chest.
It’s unclear why the heated exchange took place, but several other players came over and got involved before it ended.
This is what coaching is: Lions DBs coach Aubrey Pleasant and Jeff Okudah had a passionate sideline teaching moment early in the game that went viral. Later, after Okudah gave up a 79-yard TD, Pleasant coached him up with love. ?: FOX pic.twitter.com/kiaVAtW741— Jonathan Jones (@jjones9) September 13, 2021
The broadcast later showed Pleasant and Okudah embracing on the bench — which took place after he gave up a nearly 80-yard touchdown pass — so clearly no love was lost between the two.
So y’all not gonna show this part?— Will Blackmon ? (@WillBlackmon) September 13, 2021
Cool ?? pic.twitter.com/vkge6EcUvB
“It’s tough love sometimes, but you know it’s coming from a good place,” cornerback Ifeatu Melifonwu said, via the Detroit Free Press. “It’s not anything ego or anything, he just wants us to be great.”
The NFL Network’s Steve Smith, however, wasn’t happy with the encounter — and says it’s a sign of what’s to come later this season in Detroit.
“We need to stop upping our standards for players and lowering our standards for coaches,” Smith said, via the Detroit Free Press. “We need to have them on the same playing field. We need to start revoking some of these dumb-ass coaches’ opportunities because that sh**show they got in Detroit, it’s a train wreck waiting to happen and I’m sitting there, got my popcorn waiting for it.”
Smith’s take on the incident apparently isn’t being felt in the Lions’ locker room.
“At the end of the day, we have great relationships with Coach Pleasant and of course social media can make things be portrayed in a different way, but that’s really what it is,” Oruwariye said, via the Detroit Free Press. “Everyone has a great relationship with coach Pleasant, everyone’s trying to win and that’s what it comes down to.”
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