Nov. 16, 2012
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Ypsilanti, Mich. — When the University of Iowa football team arrived at its hotel in Ypsianti on Friday afternoon, it was greeted by a big fan.
A 6-foot-6, 313-pound fan who wears No. 71 for the Detroit Lions.
Former Hawkeye offensive lineman Riley Reiff, selected with the 23rd pick of the 2012 NFL Draft, served as one-man welcoming committee outside the hotel lobby, spending a few minutes talking to his former head coach Kirk Ferentz and several of his former teammates.
“You know I’m following the Hawkeyes,” Reiff said. “I follow them every week and I wish them the best of luck.”
Reiff’s Lions are sitting with a 4-5 record as they prepare to host the Green Bay Packers on Sunday at noon (CT). Reiff has played in all nine games and started four times, including the last three games against Seattle, Jacksonville, and Minnesota.
“I’m just trying to get a little playing time, learn as much as I can and help the team out any way I can,” Reiff said.
Reiff is a native of Parkston, S.D., and would have been a senior eligibility-wise this fall if he had decided not to enter last spring’s NFL Draft. He know protects Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford, who has thrown for 2,722 yards and 11 touchdowns, and opens holes for a ground game led by former Illinois running back Mikel Leshoure.
The biggest adjustment from college to the NFL for the rookie Reiff?
“I have to buy doughnuts every Friday for the team,” Reiff said. “Krispy Kreme doughnuts to be exact.”
Reiff’s former team — the Hawkeyes — take on Michigan Saturday with an 11:01 a.m. (CT) kickoff from inside Michigan Stadium.