The city of Detroit has endured its share of slings and arrows, but Gunther Cunningham is counted among its band of defenders.
The Lions defensive coordinator grew emotional during his Thursday news conference when asked to describe his feelings about the community he's come to know over the past two seasons.
"I don't know if I can talk about that because this city has kind of grown under my skin," Cunningham said, via Shutdown Corner. "I love staying downtown at the hotel we stay at (before home games) and I look around when I drive in, in the morning. I go about 5 o'clock in the morning for a 1 o'clock game and I just drive around the streets a little bit and -- like I told you -- I am feeling it right now talking about it.
"We address it every week. We play for the city. It is really important to us."
Cunningham's long-running coaching career has crossed through Kansas City with the Chiefs, and Los Angeles when the Raiders played there -- and everywhere in between for road games -- but it's Detroit that's served as a revelation. Shrugged aside by many as a town that's lost its way amid hard times, Gun sees a home.
"They talk about Detroit like it is old New York. It is not right," he said. "We want to prove that point. They call us over-aggressive and, yeah, we are. We play for a big reason. We play for this city and for the state and -- I got to stop -- I am telling you, it gets to me, talking about that, because I feel like I belong here. I look around and people work for a living here. When I drive in about 4 a.m., it looks like a traffic jam. I finally figure out where they all go. They go to work."
Somewhere, in the creases along 8 Mile, they're crafting this man a key to the city.