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Driven by karma, Detroit Lions’ Taylor Boggs tutoring young teammates while fighting for a job

While most of his teammates signed autographs, Detroit Lions offensive lineman Taylor Boggs lingered on the field at Edsel Ford High School following Monday night's practice. And he wasn't alone.

Boggs was holding court with a handful of the team's younger linemen, including first-round draft pick Laken Tomlinson, answering detailed questions about technique while roping in defensive end Corey Wootton to physically demonstrate counters to specific pass-rush moves.

"He's a guy I can go to with any questions and obviously a guy that's been in the league for a while," Tomlinson said. "I definitely look toward him as a way to learn more."

A four-year veteran, Boggs is already a journeyman. Undrafted out of Division II Humboldt State (Calif.) in 2011, Boggs signed with the New York Jets, but was waived after spending his rookie year on injured reserve. After a year out of the NFL, he got picked up by the Chicago Bears, appearing in five games the past two seasons.

Now he's in Detroit, fighting for a job.

While Detroit's offensive line depth chart is crowded, especially along the interior where the team added Tomlinson and Manny Ramirez this offseason, Boggs has made a strong impression. After a series of quality practice performances, he played a team-high 67 snaps in the preseason opener, netting the highest grade of any Lions player from Pro Football Focus.

The unassuming and gruff Boggs scoffed at the external praise.

"I don't entertain Pro Football Focus, at all," he said. "I've got to get better. It was one game. I'm not going to crown myself after one game."

But it isn't just Boggs' training camp performance that merits attention. It's his willingness to coach up his younger teammates, some of who are the same guys he's competing with for long-term employment.

For Boggs, sharing his knowledge is simply paying it forward. In Chicago, he was embraced by the team's veterans -- guys like Roberto Garza, Matt Slauson, Eben Britton and Jermon Bushrod -- who willingly imparted their knowledge.

"For whatever reason, they really took me under my wing," Boggs said. "If I didn't do that, it's bad karma as far as I'm concerned. The better (my teammates) look, it's going to bring the best competition out of myself."

In addition to what he learned in Chicago, Boggs has also refined his skill set and knowledge of his position working closely with LeCharles Bentley. The former Pro Bowler runs an increasingly popular performance camp for offensive linemen in Arizona.

"I'm a founding member -- (San Francisco 49ers guard) Alex Boone, then me," Boggs said. "I started my senior year in college. Spring of 2010, I started going out there.

"You're working with one of the best to ever do it. The last centers that were moving nose guards off the ball were Olin Kreutz and LeCharles Bentley. I've got to work with both of them and that's been a blessing."

Lions guard Larry Warford also works with Bentley in the offseason and has repeatedly called the retired lineman's tutelage invaluable to his early-career success.

Boggs will continue to his fight for a roster spot this Thursday when the Lions travel to Washington to battle the Redskins.

"I think he's a guy that keeps improving every single day," coach Jim Caldwell said. "He's gritty, he's tough, he's smart and fortunately, he's got a good feel of the system and I think he'll get a better grasp and get better."



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