Austin Bryant Likes Lions’ Defensive Future: ‘You Got Some Fighters’

Though the Detroit Lions continue to struggle through the conclusion of the 20210-22 season, the team has managed to stay together and keep cohesive which is no small feat all things considered.

That’s been a big goal for the team’s coaching staff as well as the players, and the results are paying dividends for the Lions in a big way. Though wins and losses alike, the team has not fractured nor come apart at the seams, which speaks to the solid culture Dan Campbell is building for the future.

The latest Lions news straight to your inbox! Join the Heavy on Lions newsletter here!

Join Heavy on Lions!

One player who embodies that cultures is defensive lineman ad linebacker Austin Bryant. Overlooked early in his career thanks to injuries, Bryant has come on stronger in 2021 to post a career-high 4.5 sacks and 32 tackles. Bryant is making his case as a player who can be a big part of the future for the team in the long-term.

Not only has Bryant elevated his own game as well as Detroit’s, but he is also someone who is taking on a veteran role within the Lions’ defense. Already, Bryant sees his team as building on something special for the future given the grit and attitude of the players who have been suiting up for the team.

In an interview after the game on January 2 posted to, Bryant explained that he thinks his team deserves credit for the way they’ve fought so far this year. As a result, he told the media he has a lot of love and belief in his teammates on defense and their future.

“I love every guy in that locker room. Every single day they come to work and work their a**** off. I hate when the product doesn’t show on the field on Sunday, because I know how much work we put in throughout the week. But man, talk about some fighters,” Bryant told the media. “No one gave up no matter what the deficit was or how things were going, the tempo of the game. No matter what, all 22 guys on the field were tying to bust their a** and do the right thing to help us win and come back into this game. I think that’s where you take off right there. You got some fighters, you got something to build around going into not only this next game, but next season.”

To the outside, it sure seems as if Bryant is right. The Lions seem to have the makings of a solid future, especially on defense. Whether or not they can sustain it remains to be seen, but obviously, the mindset and approach of players in the room has caught Bryant’s eye.

Bryant Enjoys Solid Week 17 Sack

If the Lions end up with a solid defense in the future, it can be accredited to the guys like Bryant, who continue to play hard down the stretch. Against Seattle, Bryant made a big play early in the game to sack Russell Wilson and continue his late-season tear as it relates to getting at the quarterback. Here’s the play:

In spite of this big play, Bryant obviously wasn’t happy about the way his team lost, which was also evident when he spoke to the media after the game.

“The proof is in the pudding, the tape won’t lie. We weren’t good enough today,” Bryant said after the game.

No matter the disappointment, Bryant is having a solid season for his team in 2021, and he hopes that the big play helps him finish the season strong and continue to come into his own.

Bryant’s Career Stats & Highlights

Picked up in the fourth round of the 2019 draft, the pass rusher out of Clemson got hyped as a hidden gem thanks to his production in college, but an injury helped his slip in the draft, and once he got to Detroit, he was quickly injured again with a nearly identical ailment to the one he sustained in school. The first few years, he never saw the field and couldn’t show the Lions or their fans some of the immense talent which led to him putting up some solid college stats. With the Tigers, Bryant was active with 130 tackles, 21 sacks, 1 interception, 2 forced fumbles and 37 tackles for-loss.

In spite of that, Bryant put up just 25 total tackles in his time in the NFL coming into this season which is a lower total of production than many would have predicted. In 2021, he managed to top that with some health, something which the tape showed a chance of happening:

Bryant is finally healthy and being able to show signs of his old self. Combined with his outlook and approach, it wouldn’t be a shock to see him and his defense having some big success in the future.

READ NEXT: Aaron Glenn Hypes Lions Linebacker as Potential 2022 Starter