Man offers counseling for suffering Lions fans

Most irate Monday Morning Quarterbacks call up their local sports-talk radio station to vent.

Or take out frustrations on co-workers around the water cooler. Or, worse yet, on their football widows back at home.

It happens every year for Detroit Lions’ fans, even during the offseason.

Chris Pruett, who’s had his heart broken by the Lions too many times to count over the years, is here to help. He has hit the streets in Lansing, Mich., to offer some much-needed comfort for other fans like himself.

Pruett, 54, who goes by the nickname of “Lionsguy,” built what he refers to as the “LIONS OFFSEASON MOBILE MENTAL HEALTH CLINIC.”

It’s not fancy — there’s an eight-foot-high booth and 16-foot-high Lions flag pole — but every city in this state could use one of Pruett’s makeshift clinics.

After all, these are the long-suffering fans of a team that has never been to the Super Bowl, has one playoff victory since 1957, didn’t win a single game five years ago and is now coming off a 4-12 disappointment.

Many diehards who’ve followed the franchise for decades have reached the point where they’ve basically conceded they’ll never see a championship in their lifetime.

As they drive by Pruett, some fans honk their horn to show their support to him.

“When they first see me, they think I’m some religious fanatic who’s going to preach to them or I’m protesting something,” Pruett said. “Then they get closer and start to smile. On Wednesday, I got 1,000 honks and waves.”

He has started collecting signatures for a petition to let the fans make the Lions’ draft picks this year instead of general manager Martin Mayhew.

He said he’s not delusional and knows it will never happen, but it’s a way to send a message.

“Their picks never get us anywhere,” said Pruett, who was born in Detroit and has lived in the state of Michigan his entire life. “You just expect them to lose. You just know they’re going to blow it in the end somehow. That’s got to be the epitome of frustration.

“Poor Barry Sanders. No wonder he quit. The same thing is happening to Calvin Johnson.”

Through it all, Pruett tries his best to stay positive.

It’s not easy.

He said he was homeless a few years ago, but now lives and works at a church near the Lansing Capitol.

“There’s always hope,” Pruett said.

Even for the Lions?

Pruett has started offering “psychiatry help” at his booth for just 5 cents to the most forlorn fans.

It’s a small price to pay to release all those pent-up emotions before getting sucked back in again when training camp opens in July.