DETROIT -- Give new Tigers reliever Joba Chamberlain credit: He checks his sources, and he has a few of them.
When Chamberlain was looking into signing with the Tigers as a free agent this winter, he checked about new manager Brad Ausmus with two of his former teammates. One was Darin Erstad, who currently coaches at the University of Nebraska, where Chamberlain played. The other was Andy Pettitte, Chamberlain's teammate with the New York Yankees for six seasons.
When Chamberlain wanted to know about Detroit, however, he went right to one of the city's most famous athletes -- on the gridiron.
"One of my friends plays for the Lions, and he just talks about how it's unbelievable," Chamberlain said.
Who was that?
"Ndamukong Suh," Chamberlain said, noting the Lions' former top draft pick and University of Nebraska star.
Chamberlain said Detroit was already his first choice, but that Suh's insight further convinced him.
"It was the first place on my plate for so many reasons," Chamberlain said. "Close to home, great team, great organization, great sports town."
Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.