Randy Phillips trying to stick with Lions

ALLEN PARK — Two things about Lions rookie safety Randy Phillips.

First, he has a chip on his shoulder. Actually, according to him, chips on both shoulders.

The 6-foot-2, 210 pound safety out of Miami went undrafted, so he has much to prove to 31 teams who passed on him in all seven rounds of the draft.

He's from a major football power, so it's not like he was overlooked.

His injuries obviously scared teams away.

He played most of the 2009 season with a torn labrum and had surgery on it following the Hurricanes' season.

In 2008, he missed most of the season after tearing his anterior cruciate ligament and undergoing major knee surgery.

"It's been a roller-coaster, it's behind me now. I'm blessed. I'm in the same position as guys that went first round, maybe even better because I'm out there with the starters," Phillips said.

Second, he has worked hard to make the most of the opportunity given to him by the Lions.

Phillips bristles at the thought that he has gotten so far so quickly because Lions' defensive backs coach Tim Walton was his defensive coordinator at Miami.

"With the injury to Lou (Delmas) it was wide open, it was open competition. It had nothing to do with coach Walton. I just came in and did what I was supposed to do,'' Phillips said.

Delmas said Phillips doesn't need much assistance from him.

"I've been trying to help him, but he's been doing a great job of picking everything up on his own. As a rookie you're going to have mistakes here and there. He's been doing a good job. All I have to do is tap him on the butt to give him a pointer here and there," Delmas said.

The Lions obviously didn't draft Phillips, but they were on the phone with him immediately after the draft.

He said he decided on Detroit because when they called, they wanted to sign him.

A couple other teams expressed interest, but wanted to see a workout first.

Phillips' signing with the Lions was delayed until his shoulder was completely healed and he could pass the physical.

He did attend minicamp in late June, but still wasn't good to go.

Finally he passed his physical after missing the first four days of training camp.

Two days after his first practice, he was lining up with the starters.

At the time coach Jim Schwartz said not to make too much of it because they were short on safeties.

But Phillips is still with the starters when Delmas is not.

Delmas, who is seeing improvement coming back from his groin injury, said that Phillips is in a similar situation to the one he was in last year as a rookie.

The Lions' defense was the first NFL defense they had to learn.

"Randy Phillips is just like me. We came in and I guess you could say the first bird somebody put in our ear is what we run with. I think he's doing a great job and I think he's a smart kid," Delmas said.

After starting two preseason games, Schwartz continues to see what he first saw in Phillips.

He rarely makes mistakes and he's been consistent. Usually those are the problem areas for rookies, but not Phillips.

"The Lions gave me the opportunity, I'm blessed, and I just try to work hard every day to continue to not let my teammates down. While I'm out there they don't care if you're undrafted or you were hurt last year, they don't care about that," Phillips said. "When the play snaps, everything they care about is you doing your job and not letting each other down."

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