Published November 20, 2014
"I hope to know within a week to 10 days," Draper said Wednesday after working out with the locked-out Detroit Lions. "If Kenny could've seen me working out here, I think he would've made a decision right away."
The 40-year-old forward was joking, but he was very serious while doing conditioning drills with about 30 Lions at Detroit Country Day School.
"He was pushing me," tight end Brandon Pettigrew said. "He could definitely do the workout."
Draper was impressed, too.
"These guys are some big human beings," he said. "That's probably the one thing I noticed — just how big, strong and powerful they are. Some of these guys have over 120, 130 pounds on me.
"I think it's awesome that these guys are getting together like this. I went through a lockout and I've gone through a couple of work stoppages. Any time you can get your team together, it's obviously great. These guys put together a great workout."
Draper has been working out with Art of Strength trainer Michael Knight for a while and has encouraged Dominic Raiola and Stephen Peterman, friends who play for the Lions, to join his unique workouts with kettlebells and ropes.
"He loves training with these guys," Knight said. "He wanted to prove it to himself that he could hang with them and he did without question.
"Once Drapes turns the switch on, he never turns it off."
Holland, though, will ultimately decide whether Draper continues his career or retires.
"No decision has been made," Holland wrote in a text message Wednesday from the NHL general managers meeting.
Hernia surgery led to Draper playing just 47 games last season — the final year of his three-year contract — and he scored six goals and had 11 assists.
If Holland doesn't offer Draper a contract to return as a player, he probably won't look to play elsewhere because that would be a burden on his wife and kids, who have developed roots in the Detroit area.
"I have played out a lot of different scenarios in my mind," Draper said. "To be honest with you, for me to play hockey somewhere else for a year would be pretty selfish on my part. ... But it would be a tough decision. I love this organization and I want to play here. I told Kenny Holland that. I've been here so long. You never say never, but I don't see myself wearing another team's colours. It wouldn't be right."