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- American football player and coach
The Detroit Lions will honor the Oxford shooting victims with a moment of silence before Sunday's game against the Minnesota Vikings and by wearing an Oxford-themed decal on their helmet.
Several players had a gold "O" decal on the back of their helmet at practice Friday. Oxford's colors are blue and gold.
"Just as a starting point, we’re going to have T-shirts, we’ve got hats made, we’re going to have decals on the back of the helmets," Lions coach Dan Campbell said. "We’ll have a moment of silence before the game certainly, but those guys are on our minds. And so we want to represent them on Sunday. I know there’ll be a group of those students and kids and people that have been affected that’ll be watching this game. Right now, that’s the best way to help them.”
Four students were killed and seven people were injured Tuesday when police say a 15-year-old sophomore went on a shooting rampage at Oxford High.
The incident has scarred the community and impacted many in the Lions organization.
Lions offensive coordinator Anthony Lynn said Thursday one of his assistants had to leave a meeting because the assistant's 14-year-old daughter was afraid to go to her school after the shooting.
Defensive line coach Todd Wash said the incident reminded him of the Columbine shooting in 1999, when he spent that day recruiting nearby high schools.
And Campbell said he played phone tag this week with Oxford football coach Zach Line. Line played fullback for the New Orleans Saints in 2017-19, when Campbell was an assistant with the team.
"I shared with him the same thoughts was just that I was thinking about all the families, we all were, and prayers and thinking about him," Campbell said. "It’s tough. There’s no other way to put it. He said it, 'This is a tough ordeal. This is a tough thing we’re going through right now.' Rightly so.”
Duce Staley, the Lions assistant head coach and running backs coach, said he devoted time at the beginning of one of his position group meetings this week to the shootings.
"It's important simply because 99 to 98% of the time, when they walk through the door of your meeting room, you’re picking up a remote pressing play (and watching film)," Staley said. "And I’ve been a strong believer for a long time that sometimes you got to put that remote down and see how they’re doing. And you got to see how they’re coping, you got to see if one of their family members have been affected. And maybe you can help with just a simple conversation, so as coaches that’s our job also.
"Our job is not to pick up the remote every time they walk through the door. Sometimes you put it down or you leave it down and just ask a simple question like how you’re doing, and then the conversation goes from there."
Staley said players are hurting for everyone impacted by the tragedy, and he said he hopes that experience can fuel players Sunday against the Vikings.
"We had a chance, just took five minutes out of our group and we just talked about it," Staley said. "And just talked about what happened and those that have kids, like myself, how you can communicate to them, how you can try to help them deal with something like this. It’s tragic, it’s hurtful. We will be honoring them Sunday with T-shirts and (helmet) tags. Whatever we can do as an organization, we’re going to do it."
This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: Detroit Lions to honor Oxford shooting victims with helmet decal