Amon-Ra St. Brown ready to 'go harder' in pursuit of Super Bowl

DETROIT -- The NFL draft arrives in the Motor City for the first time (8 p.m. ET, Thursday, ABC, ESPN, ESPN app) with more than 275,000 fans expected, and the Lions have much to celebrate.

They reached contract extensions on Wednesday with 2021 draft picks Penei Sewell (first round) and Amon-Ra St. Brown (fourth round), key pieces for a team that is coming off an appearance in the NFC Championship Game after winning its first division title in 30 years.

St. Brown spoke on Thursday at a previously scheduled appearance handing out free pizzas at Little Caesars Love Kitchen. The wide receiver agreed to a deal that will pay him $112 million over four years.

"I gotta go harder," said St. Brown, who posted 119 receptions for 1,515 yards and 10 touchdowns last season. "I told everyone. I'm going harder now. I'm not changing. My goal or our goal is that Lombardi [trophy]. We need it. We feel like we can do it, so that's our goal going into this season. We want that trophy, but I'm not changing. Everyone knows that. I hope they do, and they'll find out. I'm just glad I'm here for four more years or whatever it is [through the 2028 season].

"To be with the guys, the coaches, the teammates, the fans, everyone that's part of the organization. I hear a lot of stories about other teams, but this is all I know, and they've been awesome to me so far. It's great."

St. Brown, who will be attending the draft Thursday night, said the negotiations went smoothly with his agent, Joby Branion of Vanguard Sports Group. His production speaks for itself, as he's one of four players in NFL history with 300-plus receptions in his first three seasons (315), along with Justin Jefferson (324), Michael Thomas (321) and Christian McCaffrey (303).

"It was awesome. Joby told me that we've been talking the last three months or so," St. Brown said. "He's been updating me with the talks every week, and he told me that he's done a lot of contracts in his time of being an agent, and he said this was one of the smoothest, best operations that he's been a part of. It went so smooth, they were cooperative, whatever you call it. He said they were great, and that just shows you the type of guys they are in Detroit that the Lions have."

St. Brown said Thursday that during the 2021 draft, he didn't want to be selected by Detroit. But now he says he wants to finish his career here.

"I feel like three years ago, when I got that call around exactly this time, I even told my brother [Equanimeous, a receiver for the New Orleans Saints] once it was Day 3, I told my brother if it was one team I don't want to go to, that's the Lions," St. Brown said. "'Just please, I don't want to go to the Lions because he was on the Packers at the time, and I wanted to play with him and then sure enough, I check my phone and it's 313 Detroit [area code].

"I'm like, 'No way.' So, I pick it up, it's [Lions general manager] Brad [Holmes] and they drafted me, and I was happy, but I was unhappy at the same time because I didn't want to come here. But looking back on it, it's probably the best."

St. Brown says he trusts Holmes, based off his history in Detroit, to make a great pick on Thursday night. In his three years in Detroit, Holmes has drafted five Pro Bowlers (St. Brown, Sewell, Aidan Hutchinson, Jahmyr Gibbs and Sam LaPorta). That's three more than any other team during that span, according to ESPN Stats & Information.

"Brad's really been killing it the last three years. Whatever he does, I'm good with it," St. Brown said. "I know he's done his homework. He's done his research. He's put the hours in, so I know he's ready, but if I wanted to pick some, shoot, I feel like you can never go wrong with anything defense ... corner, edge rusher, whatever it is. I would like another receiver too. Someone that can go up and get it, a big-bodied receiver. I feel like we could use one of those, but like I said, whatever he does, I'm on board. I feel like we're all on board."