Detroit Lions radio analyst Lomas Braown speaks to Free Press sports writer Dave Birkett on Super Bowl radio row on Thursday, Jan. 31, 2019.
Dave Birkett, Detroit Free Press

ATLANTA — Detroit Lions wide receiver Kenny Golladay had two relatively quiet games against the Minnesota Vikings this season, but one of the team’s top cornerbacks said Golladay is quite literally an enormous challenge to cover.

“He’s big as (expletive),” Vikings cornerback and former Michigan State star Trae Waynes said Thursday on radio row at Super Bowl LIII. “He’s a big dude.”

Golladay set career-highs with 70 catches for 1,063 yards this season and tied for the team lead with five receiving touchdowns.

But in two games against the Vikings, both losses, he had just 104 yards receiving and no scores.

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Waynes saw one-on-one action against Golladay both games and said the Lions use the 6-foot-4, 213-pound Golladay “really well.”

“I think he’s a great player,” Waynes said. “He’s one of those guys who really stepped up for them and he’s one of those guys that you like competing against on Sundays.”

A third-round pick out of Northern Illinois in 2017, Golladay will be eligible for a contract extension after next season.

Waynes, who’s entering the final year of his rookie contract with the Vikings, said he expects to be battling against Golladay for a long time to come.

“I can’t see him going anywhere for Detroit,” Waynes said. “So it’ll be fun.”

Lucky charm

When the Los Angeles Rams took Brian Allen in the fourth round of last year’s draft, the former Michigan State center heard immediately from family and friends “how lucky I was that I’m getting drafted to the best team and (going to) Los Angeles and getting out of the Midwest.”

Nine months later, with the Rams preparing for Sunday’s Super Bowl against the New England Patriots, those words seem more true than ever.

“It’s pretty unbelievable,” Allen said this week. “I really don’t have words for it to be honest with you. Since we (beat New Orleans in the NFC championship game), it’s been pretty surreal just to wrap your head around  it. There’s not a lot of words for it.”

Allen has played primarily on special teams this season — in 13 games, he’s played just 36 offensive snaps, according to — but he said he’s learned more than he ever could have imagined being around veteran offensive linemen John Sullivan and Austin Blythe.

“He’s the smartest that I’ve been around,” Allen said of Sullivan, the Rams’ starting center. “Sometimes a little too smart for me. I have to have him dummy it down a little bit, but he’s been good.”

As for this week, Allen said his parents, brothers, a couple friends and Michigan State assistant Mark Staten are all coming to Sunday’s game to watch him live out a childhood dream.

“Everyone keeps saying how old were you when (Tom) Brady played in (his) first Super Bowl,” Allen said. “I was 7, so I would have been watching. Even Sullivan was in the NFC North, being from Chicago, I knew who he was in middle school. So to be teammates with him now, it’s pretty special and it’s a pretty cool experience.”

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The Lions will have an additional $6.4 million in salary cap space for 2019, the amount they finished under the cap this season, the NFLPA announced Thursday. When the new league opens in March, the league-wide cap is expected to be around $190 million. The Lions, who carried over the second most money in the NFC North behind the Green Bay Packers ($7.8 million), currently project to have $34 million or so in cap space.

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