In today’s edition of 100 Days, 100 Detroit Lions, we remember a Pro Bowl pass rusher from the 1980s who remains among the best sack artists in franchise history.
76. Michael Cofer
Outside Linebacker / Defensive End. 1983-92 Detroit
Michael Cofer excelled on some of the worst teams in franchise history. He came to the Lions in the third-round of the 1983 draft out of the University of Tennessee. He would play in all 16 games as a rookie-reserve at defensive end, earning 4.5 sacks. He moved into the starting lineup the next season, garnering 7 sacks. In 1985, the Lions’ new head coach Darryl Rogers installed a 3-4 defense causing Cofer to move to a new position at outside linebacker. It would be a switch that would one day pay big dividends. However because of injury, Cofer would only play in seven games in Detroit’s first year with the new scheme.
Upon his healthy-return in 1986, Cofer would post a career high 7.5 sacks, and from 1986 through 1990, he would total 47 QB takedowns. His best season came in 1988, when he would earn a trip to the Pro Bowl with 12 sacks for a 4-12 team. Cofer would be voted by his teammates as their defensive MVP that season. He would win team MVP honors again in 1990 with ten sacks and one interception. In Mike’s final two seasons, a series of injuries would rob him of his skills and limit him to just ten games and three sacks. At the time of his retirement, he ranked only behind Bubba Baker on the Lions’ all-time sack list with 62.5. He currently stands third-place in that category, behind Baker and Robert Porcher, in franchise history.