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Aidan Hutchinsonseems set up for a smooth transition in the NFL, playing for his hometown Detroit Lions whose training facility is a 30-minute drive from his parents’ house.
“I may be living in the basement,” he joked Friday in Allen Park, Michigan.
Detroit drafted the former Michigan and Dearborn Divine Child defensive end with the No. 2 pick Thursday night and welcomed him, his parents and two sisters back to the Motor City less than 24 hours later.
“It feels like a dream,” his mother, Melissa Hutchinson said. “We would’ve acclimated to wherever he was, but Detroit is special because he’s a hometown boy from grade-school football, high school, college, and now he gets to stay home with the Lions.”
Aidan Hutchinson was raised in nearby Plymouth, Michigan, and played high school football about five minutes from the facility he will train and practice in as an NFL player.
“To think I’m a Lion, it’s like a wild dream,” he said. “I’m sure one of these days it’s going to hit me.”
The Lions have taken a lot of hits over the years, advancing only once in the playoffs since winning the 1957 NFL title and that lone postseason victory was three decades ago.
Hutchinson remembers the team’s 0-16 season in 2008, the low point of a long-suffering franchise.
“Not a ton of great memories,” he said.
Detroit is attempting another rebuild, hoping general manager Brad Holmes and coach Dan Campbell can make all the right moves for a team that has averaged just four wins over the past four years.
The Lions went into the NFL draft with an extra first-round pick, acquired as part of the Matthew Stafford trade with the Los Angeles Rams, and used the asset to gamble in Las Vegas on a player they coveted.
Detroit moved way up in the opening round to draft Jameson Williams at No. 12, giving up the last pick in the first round, No. 32 overall and a third-round pick for the Alabama wide receiver and a slot in the middle of the second round.
“If we have the conviction and we have the buy-in, we know that we’ll be aggressive and go get that player,” Holmes said. “There’s not a lot of them, but fortunately Jameson was one.”