Aubrey Pleasant explains the controversial sideline blow-up with Jeff Okudah in Week 1

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·2 min read
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

Everyone remembers the Week 1 incident on the Detroit Lions sideline. Defensive backs coach Aubrey Pleasant had a heated exchange with starting cornerback Jeff Okudah after a failed defensive possession.

The incident garnered national attention, including some pointed criticism from several prominent pundits and former players, notably Steve Smith. It was not the kind of first impression the coaching staff wanted, and Pleasant has learned from the well-publicized blow-up.

Pleasant got to talk to the media for the first time since the incident on Friday.

“Perception is reality, times,” Pleasant said. “I also learned I communicate very well and sometimes I don’t have to do it in that nature, to say the least. I think it was timed perfectly. If it would have happened all over again, I don’t think anything would change, but I would say, as an adult and as a man, I’ve learned that moving forward.”

So what was the reason for the harsh words on the sidelines for Okudah?

“I was frustrated because on that play, he had a chance to make an interception and he didn’t push,” Pleasant said. “We had been talking about it for a while, so it got kinda fisticuffs, got kinda going. Then, later on, there was a more defeating play and I embraced him with a lot of love. I know, for the outside eyes, sometimes that’s tough to understand, but that’s the nature of this game. You have high stakes and high rewards.”

Many critics, again notably Steve Smith, ignored the second interaction, which was also captured on camera and highlighted by the FOX broadcast.

The fallout has been exacerbated because Okudah was lost for the season with a torn Achilles tendon late in the loss. Pleasant noted that Okudah remains dialed in and as actively involved as he can be while injured.

“He’s still here. He’s been in the meetings. When he left to have his surgery, I talked to him that night,” Pleasant said. “He left to be with his family, and I talked to him that day. I hope that you guys understand that what I’m perceived to be is what I really am. There’s nothing that’s fraud or fake about it. The reason I am able to coach that hard is because of the relationships that I have.”

Related

The Lions are spending almost half their salary cap on players unavailable for Week 5