ALLEN PARK, Mich. - The Detroit Lions have welcomed guests to Allen Park throughout training camp.
Monday, a busload of special visitors unloaded in front of the team's headquarters, immediately catching the attention of the players.
Officers from the Detroit Police Department visited Lions camp, watching practice and meeting members of the team.
"They come out here, and they're excited, obviously, to high-five us, and get autographs. But they do a more important job than what we do,'' wide receiver Nate Burleson said.
The city of Detroit celebrates and rallies around its heroes. Most of the time, it's the guys in pads and helmets drawing acclaim. The Lions flipped the script to shine the light on the men and women keeping the Motor City safe.
"It's great to see the players appreciate the work that we do everyday," DPD Inspector Charles Wilson explained.
"To have the O-line with us, they go in the trenches like us. If they let someone get to the quarterback, they're in trouble. If we let something get to our citizens, we're in trouble."
That being said, the officers were in agreement. There was one player they had their eye on meeting: Ndamukong Suh.
"It's great to have them out there. I had family members, close family friends that were cops. I definitely know the things that they go through," Suh said.
"I'm glad they could find some enjoyment in watching me play."
Lions guard Rob Sims said when he saw the bus pull up, he told his teammates they had to go shake the officers' hands. The impact of having the DPD in Allen Park hit home for Sims.
"My father was in law enforcement. He passed away on the job. I got to grow up in that environment a little bit. They're heroes," Sims said.
Mickey Sims passed away of a heart attack six years ago. The Lions guard said his father worked as a park ranger, even while he was still playing for the Cleveland Browns.
"I know what it takes day-to-day."
Head coach Jim Schwartz shed light on the day's visitors by putting their jobs in perspective.
"Let me put it this way: Our guys go out to do their job, they got a chance to pull a hamstring. Those guys put their lives on the line everyday they go to work. We got a lot of respect for that," he said.
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