Eric Ebron: New NFL celebration rule 'allows us to be who we are as athletes'

ALLEN PARK, Mich. -- When Eric Ebron heard he might be able to dance and be creative in the end zone, his mind immediately started to think about what he could do. What he would do. So the Detroit Lions tight end texted a group chat he has with some other NFL players and off the group went, discussing potential ideas along the way.

Not that Ebron would reveal what he might come up with should he reach the end zone this season, but he’s definitely been thinking about it now that the NFL has relaxed some of the rules regarding end zone celebrations.

But he’s happy about the change.

“Hopefully I score more than one touchdown, but it’s hard to score touchdowns in the NFL. So when you do it, you want to celebrate,” Ebron said. “Not only for yourself, but with your teammates and for the fans.

“It allows us to be who we are as athletes and allows us to have fun while we’re playing the game, you know. The fans see it and they love it and they come out more.”

Ebron has had small celebrations when he has scored in the past. He’s one of a few Lions players who has celebrated when he scored. Golden Tate danced with the cheerleaders and grabbed one of their pompoms after a touchdown in October 2016. Former Lions tight end Joseph Fauria became more well-known for his touchdown dances -- including the “Bye, Bye, Bye” dance from N*Sync -- than anything else during his time in Detroit.

So the room to be creative has kind of been there, but now there will be more license to do so.

“I like it,” receiver Marvin Jones said. “Definitely, you know. It just brings back a little spice that kind of lacked when it was kind of ruled [illegal], but I don’t know. Maybe you’ll see me do a couple things.”

Jones wouldn’t say what, but added he’s not much of a celebrate-in-the-end-zone guy. So if he does something, “it’s going to be great.”

Lions coach Jim Caldwell seemed OK with the rule change as well, although he wants to be sure the league sends a video so he can show his players what they can and can’t do to avoid flags this season. But he anticipates seeing a bunch of creativity from players -- particularly if they have time to plan it out.

Of course, Caldwell is the same guy who said he was oblivious to some celebrations until a few years ago when he was playing video games with his grandchildren.

“I was sitting down with my grandsons early on when they were very small and we were going through the video games,” Caldwell said. “And I’d watch the video games and a guy would make a tackle or make a sack or whatever and on the video game he is doing all these different sort of gyrations and all these different kind of things moving around and I’m saying, ‘That’s unrealistic, they don’t do that.’

“Then I thought about it and I started just kind of watching and it was true to life. Obviously they do do a lot of those things. I just think that’s kind of the way things are these days. So, it’s fine.”