Lions DE Vanden Bosch got work ethic from father

Detroit Lions defensive end Kyle Vanden Bosch didn’t get to

sleep in after playing high school football or slack off in the

summer while growing up in Iowa.

Vanden Bosch was put to work at a family construction business,

hauling blocks and bricks along with wheeling concrete around as

needed.

”It wasn’t easy,” he recalled Wednesday. ”As hard as I

worked, I don’t think I’ll ever work as hard as my dad did and does

still. The only thing I know how to do is go back to work. With dad

… he threw out his back and still went back to work.”

Then and now, Vanden Bosch plays with a relentless abandon on

each snap – whether the lights are on or not. Every time he’s on

the field for practice, for example, Vanden Bosch puts his hands on

the ball carrier, even if he’s lined up on one side and the play

goes the opposite way for a long gain.

”Literally, he does that every time,” marveled teammate Willie

Young, a second-year defensive end. ”Me and Cliff Avril were just

talking about him the other day when we doing individuals and he

was going at it like he was trying to make the team. We were saying

when we’re 10-year vets in the league, we hope we have that same

energy. He’s that guy you hear your high school or college coach

say, `That’s the guy you need to study.’ And, you should see him in

the weight room. It’s crazy. I can’t keep up with him.”

That’s why the Lions made signing him a top priority last

year.

Detroit coach Jim Schwartz got to know Vanden Bosch well as

defensive coordinator with the Tennessee Titans. Vanden Bosch, who

was drafted by Arizona in 2001, had a career-high 12 1/2 sacks in

2005 with the Titans and 12 in 2007.

Schwartz said Vanden Bosch has been a ”DNA match” for the

Lions on and off the field.

”It wasn’t just his leadership or his work ethic, but his

talent and the way he plays rubs off on a lot of other guys,”

Schwartz said. ”We have some really good young players and we

combined them with some good veterans, guys like Corey Williams and

Kyle Vanden Bosch. Kyle has been everything we needed. None of that

really means anything if he’s not productive and he’s been very

productive this year.”

Vanden Bosch didn’t practice Wednesday, following a program set

up after he had neck surgery in December to help him be at his best

for games.

It has worked well.

Vanden Bosch has five sacks, three forced fumbles and a

recovered fumble, proving the time off each week has helped him

make plays when they matter most.

”Certainly, it keeps me fresh,” he said. ”Any time you have a

neck injury and have neck surgery, I think there’s a concern that

you just want to limit the pounding during the week. I can’t argue

with the success it has given me on Sundays. I feel good and I’m

able to go out there and be productive to help this team win.”

The Lions (6-2) play Sunday at Chicago (5-3) in a game that’ll

give them a two-game lead over the Bears or put them in a

second-place tie behind Green Bay in the NFC North.

When Chicago quarterback Jay Cutler watches film, he sees No. 93

playing with what he called an ”unbelievable engine” from start

to finish.

”He is going to go from the first play to the last play,”

Cutler said. ”Really good against the run as well as third down

getting off the edge. So you know the two guys (Vanden Bosch and

Avril) on the edge create a lot of problems. You can’t just

concentrate on one side because they have a dual threat there. It

makes it hard.”

The guys in the middle of the defensive line, Ndamukong Suh and

Williams, are pretty good as well. The entire unit is taking

advantage of having a healthy Vanden Bosch on the field after he

was limited to 11 games last year.

”I feel great,” Vanden Bosch said. ”After eight games, I

don’t think anybody feels great, but I don’t feel any different

than I did Week 2 or 3. It’s kind of been the design of the way

coach Schwartz has handled my practice schedule and my reps.”

Titans defensive end William Hayes said Vanden Bosch taught him

how to be a pro.

”The guy has the best motor that I’ve ever seen in my life,”

Hayes said. ”I think the year he left he played one game like

70-something plays, and you didn’t see him take off one play.

That’s hard and really rare to find in this league. And the one

thing I really try to take from him is just play every play like

it’s your last.”

Vanden Bosch shrugs off such compliments and values how his

upbringing helped shape a work ethic that has helped him stay

productive at a young man’s position with his 33rd birthday next

week.

”It’s not conscious, but I think it something that was

engrained in me at a young age,” he said. ”There’s a certain way

to do things, a certain way to live your life.”

Notes: K Jason Hanson didn’t practice Wednesday because of an

injured left knee and the team worked out potential replacements

after practice. … P Ryan Donahue, the team’s holder on kicks, was

limited in practice because of an injured right thigh. … RB

Jahvid Best likely won’t play against the Bears on Sunday, almost a

month after his third career concussion.

AP Sports Writer Teresa M. Walker in Nashville, Tenn.,

contributed to this report.

Follow Larry Lage on Twitter at www.twitter.com/larrylage