Carlos Monarrez, Detroit Free Press
Welcome to Detroit, Jeff Locke. You lose!
Yep, the Lions’ new punter got a harsh but fun greeting upon joining his new team when he lost handily in a game of corn hole to his new gunner, Don Carey, in the locker room.
Locke is the replacement the Lions signed Tuesdayto take over for injured Kasey Redfern, who was taking over for Sam Martin, who is on the non-football injury list for the first six weeks of the NFL season.
The funny thing is Locke and Martin are good friends. Locke has flowed to North Carolina to train with Martin, and Martin has flown to Los Angeles to train with Locke. Also, Locke was a UCLA teammate of former Lions tight end Joe Fauria, who is a good friend of Martin’s.
“Sam and I are good buddies,” Locke said. “So the transition’s been pretty good because I had Sam and those guys showing me around to make it easier.”
The Minnesota Vikings drafted Locke in the fifth round of the 2013 draft, 10 spots ahead of Martin, and now the two are working together.
“It’s just kind of funny how the paths work, right?” Locke said. “Everyone takes a little different path and how things work out.
“But I’m very lucky that I’m close to Sam and know him well. So I can come in here and he can show me the ropes, because all he wants is to see this team win while he’s out. So he wants to try to help me as much as he can.”
Locke, who will hold on field goals and likely will kick off, has had just two days of practice with new battery mates, Don Muhlbach and Matt Prater, but he’s encouraged.
“And I think Prater was happy, from the look of it,” Locke said. “But we’ll have our first live session today. It’s just going to take some reps, which luckily we kind of have that long week to get ahead of it.”
Locke was in training camp with the Indianapolis Colts and met Redfern during the teams’ joint practices. Locke got to know Redfern and was crestfallen when he learned of Redfern’s injury, which included a torn ACL and MCL and a partially torn meniscus.
“I was out doing something else on Sunday,” Locke said, “and then my agent called me and said, ‘Check Twitter. Type in Redfern.’ And I did and I was like, ‘Frick.’
“Kasey’s a great guy, because we had joint practice with Indy when I was there this off-season, so I got to talk to Kasey for a while. It just sucked to see it and then my agent said, ‘Go get on a plane.’ ”
Contact Carlos Monarrez: email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @cmonarrez.