Thrust into stardom, Kenny Golladay channels his inner Barry Sanders by staying modest


Detroit Lions rookie Kenny Golladay had a statement game this past Sunday. The young wide receiver caught 4 passes for 69 yards and 2 touchdowns and helped complete the team’s 4th quarter comeback against the Arizona Cardinals.

His first touchdown was a leaping grab to snag a perfectly placed Matthew Stafford pass which put the Lions in front 21-17. Golladay made an even more sensational catch later in the 4th quarter laying out for a 45-yard bomb from Stafford that brought the Ford Field crowd to their feet and put away the Cardinals for good.

Later, Golladay’s locker was surrounded by media as the press clamored for a sound byte from the fresh faced rookie. What was Golladay’s reaction to his circus catch late in the 4th quarter?

“Uh, I just ran with speed, you know?” he said nonchalantly. “Just put my head down and ran. Looked up, and the ball was coming.”

He was asked about how he will deal with all the hype and pressure of being a marked man for coverage on the Detroit offense.

“You just can’t worry about (the hype),” Golladay said. “Keep outside noise away, and focus on next week.”

Modest and mature words from a young player. Reminds me of another famous Detroit star, Barry Sanders, who remained famously humble when Lions fans were searching for a hero. Sanders’ actions on the field spoke louder than any words into a microphone or camera could.

I’m looking forward to seeing how Golladay handles the pressure of being one of the big play targets for Stafford. It’s certainly nice to see a player for the Lions appreciating the accolades that come with highlight reel plays, but, not feeling like he has to shout about it from the top of his lungs.

Act like you’ve been there before. Accept the compliments. Humbly move forward with determination to do the same things again next time you’re called upon.

Or…as Golladay put it in his Sunday afternoon interview:

“You know you’re going to get all the texts, all the highlights,” he said. “Of course I have to say my thank yous and everything. But, you know, I have to keep my head forward, and keep it down. Get ready for the next week.”