Ron Bartell has always been the rare kind of cornerback who welcomed contact.

That’s one of the things that attracted the Detroit Lions to him as a free agent late last year. Bartell said that’s not about to change even after a pair of serious injuries left him with a fragile label he knows he doesn’t deserve.

In Week 1 of the 2011 season, Bartell stepped up to fill a rush lane like he’d done so many times before when then-Eagles fullback Owen Schmitt came bulldozing through and cracked him in the helmet.

He fractured his neck in two places, missed the rest of the season and was released by the Rams the following spring.

The Detroit Renaissance product found a home with the Raiders last year, but fractured his left shoulder blade in the first half of a season-opening loss to the Chargers.

He spent half the season on short-term injured reserve and returned to play in five games before being released again.

Bartell signed with his hometown Lions last December, started the only game he played in Week 17 and spent the off-season taking first-team reps at right cornerback.

He said his injuries are a thing of the past and joked that “if I could just make it past the first game, I think I’ll be fine.”

“Considering it was the first game the past two years, maybe I’ll ask if I can sit out that game,” he said. “But no, I feel great.