It was no secret that Darius Slay was not a fan of Matt Patricia during their time together with the Detroit Lions. However, the star cornerback reportedly says that their reunion with the Philadelphia Eagles is going a bit better than their first go-around.
Slay told the Detroit Free Press that things have been “cordial” between himself and Patricia after Philly brought in the former New England Patriots coach as a senior defensive assistant.
“It’s another day at the office,” Slay said to the Free Press. “We both got the same goal, just going out there to compete and win a championship, so that’s the main focus.”
That’s a far cry from Slay’s previous comments about Patricia. The former Patriots assistant was the head coach of the Lions from 2018 until his firing in 2020. By that point, Detroit had already traded the five-time Pro Bowler to the Eagles.
When Patricia did get fired, Slay was among the players to take to social media to comment on the move after the news broke.
“Shoot, I didn’t have that much respect for Matty P as a person,” Slay said to reporters after Patricia’s firing. “It was hard for me to play for him. That’s all that was.”
That was before the Eagles brought in Patricia, who was fresh off a disastrous season coaching offense in his second run in New England.
Back in 2020, Slay traced the origin of his sour relationship with Patricia back to a 2018 training camp incident where Patricia, coming in as a first-year head coach, criticized him in front of the team during a meeting.
“He told me in front of the whole team, in the team meeting room, showed clips of me in practice getting a ball caught on me or so in practice,” Slay said. “I posted a picture (of a wide receiver on social media), and he told me, stop sucking this man’s private. So I’m like, ‘Whoa.’ I’m like, ‘Hold up.’ Where I’m from, that don’t fly.”
When asked about the relationship at the Super Bowl this year, Slay told a story about how Patricia took issue with him working out with Pro Bowl-caliber cornerbacks like Aqib Talib and Richard Sherman.
“He basically just said, ‘You are not in that category yet,’” Slay said. “At that time, I only had one Pro Bowl but now I’m at five, so I want to know how he feels about that now. I don’t wish bad on him, but as a man, me and him just don’t get along. He’s a smart coach, he knows his Xs and Os, but the disrespect is not what I’m with.”
The 32-year-old Slay has had a successful run in Philly, helping fuel their run to the Super Bowl this past season. He tested the waters in free agency this offseason, but ultimately chose to return to the Eagles.