IOWA CITY - Jared Devries never really came out and said it, but you could tell.
Given a choice, he would rather have been back in Detroit on Saturday night, preparing for the Lions' crucial home game with the San Francisco 49ers today.
But, if he couldn't be there, being back in Iowa City mingling with the Iowa football team wasn't a bad alternative.
Devries, who followed a stellar Iowa career with 12 seasons with the Detroit Lions, served as the Hawkeyes' honorary captain for their game with Northwestern on Saturday night. Not surprisingly, everywhere he went, people asked about the Lions, who are off to a 5-0 start and are the talk of the NFL.
"Obviously, I would have loved to be part of that," said Devries, who was released by the Lions after sitting out last season with a knee injury. "But I know how it goes. I know the business. I'm truly happy for them. I hold no grudge, I have no resentment. I'm just really happy for them."
Devries played 120 games at defensive end for the Lions from 1999 through 2010, enduring some of the dreariest days ever endured by any NFL franchise, including a 0-16 season in 2008.
But he knew this was coming. He's not the least bit shocked by this season's success.
"First of all, the front - the guys I dealt with - are playing outstanding," he said. "Those guys were there when I was there and we all knew they had potential. They put on a couple of extra pieces at linebacker. And obviously (quarterback) Matthew Stafford is the key along with Calvin (Johnson)."
Devries, who is now helping coach the football team at Clear Lake High School, got a chance to see what is happening in Detroit firsthand when he went back to see the Monday night game with the Chicago Bears last week.
"Electric," is the way he described the atmosphere. "It was awesome.
"I knew this was coming," he added. "It was just a matter of time."