James Houston explains why getting cut by the Lions was good for him

James Houston has burst onto the NFL, announcing his presence with authority for the Detroit Lions. The sixth-round EDGE from Jackson State seized the lead in sacks by a rookie with his eighth on the season in Detroit’s Week 17 win over Chicago.

Eight sacks in six games is a very impressive feat for Houston. It’s even more astonishing because he was cut after the preseason, unable to make the initial 53-man roster.

Being cut might have been a necessary setback for Houston. He explained why in an appearance on the Jim Rome Show this week.

“When they first cut me, it was like — okay, I’m clearly not there yet,” Houston said. “That was kind of like an ego check for me. It allowed me to humble myself and it allowed me to just put my head down and go to work.”

The hard work led to a spectacular debut. In the Lions’ Thanksgiving Day loss to the Bills, Houston bagged a sack of All-Pro QB Josh Allen on his very first NFL play.  As Houston told Rome, practice makes progress.

“It was almost just like practice,” Houston said. “Everything was so smooth. Everything worked just the way I wanted it to, and it was finishing. You don’t really get a chance to finish as a practice squad player. You don’t get to sack the quarterback or anything like that.”

Houston continued,

“Getting to Josh Allen, I knew that was going to be a task in itself … getting to him I just knew I had to wrap to get him down. Once I got him down I was like ‘man this is the feeling I’ve been waiting for’.”

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Houston also shares his thoughts on playing for Dan Campbell and some other fun conversation. The full audio interview is available here courtesy of the Jim Rome Show.

Story originally appeared on Lions Wire