The Lions are back in action this week versus the Philly Eagles. And to kick off the week, this edition of 100 Days, 100 Detroit Lions heads back to the late 1990s to honor the linebacker who made the Detroit departure of Chris Spielman much more bearable.
64. Stephen Boyd
Middle Linebacker. 1995-2001 Detroit
Many Lion fans were upset when popular and productive middle linebacker Chris Spielman was not resigned by Detroit after the 1995 season. Stephen Boyd, Spielman’s little-known replacement from Boston College would help soften the blow. Boyd was a fifth-round choice for the Lions out of B.C. in 1995, and collected 1 sack in a reserve role that season. The next year Boyd would miss half the season with an injury. Then in 1997 he would return to record a career-high 192 tackles (123 solo), which remains the second-highest total in franchise history behind Spielman’s 195 in 1994.
Stephen would go on to record tackle totals of 156, 184, and 166 during the next three seasons. He holds four of the top six tackle-totals in Lion history. Much like Spielman, the 6-foot, 247 Boyd had a sixth-sense which allowed him to stuff a play before it had a chance to develop. He made up for his lack of size and speed with toughness, extensive film study, and a textbook tackling style. A serious neck-injury early in the 2001 season forced him into a premature retirement.
Boyd was voted the Lem Barney Defensive MVP by his teammates in 1999 and 2000. He also earned his two-career Pro Bowl trips after those seasons as well. He remains the third leading tackler in franchise history, behind Spielman and Bennie Blades.