To kick off our “Ask a Lion” series, I wanted to make sure to find a new player that the fanbase was still getting to know. So what better place to start than with Detroit’s rookie class?
Jahlani Tavai was a surprise pick when Detroit took him in the second round. The selection sent fans and analysts alike scrambling for more information on the young linebacker. What they ended up finding was a pick that actually ended up making a ton of sense and was a particularly good fit for Matt Patricia and the Lions.
But that’s Jahlani Tavai the football player. What about Jahlani Tavai the person? I put out a call for fan questions, picked the best ones, and asked Tavai to give his answers late last week.
Question: What do you prefer: Coney dogs or Buddy’s Pizza? (submitted by Mr. Zebra)
Tavai: “I’ve (only) been to Coney Islands but I don’t think I got that, though. They’re just too greasy.”
Question: What’s the hardest hit you’ve delivers (submitted by GM26)
“Probably rugby, to be honest with you. When I get to run the ball, my buddies back home can remember those days when I got to just run downhill and deliver some hits to some of the guys in high school.”
Q: Hardest you’ve been hit?
“Yeah, rugby, by far, was the hardest I’ve been hit, too. I remember those like they were yesterday.”
Q: What opposing player have you met that you liked prior to playing in the NFL? (submitted by I11 suh you)
“Yeah, I grew up watching D.K. (Devon Kennard) when he was playing at SC, when he was playing with my older brother. I’ve always followed him through when he was with the Giants and even when he came here. Of course, there was (Danny) Amendola. There’s too many to count.”
Q: What about guys outside the Lions locker room?
“Not really. I don’t think it really hit me. I know a lot of people think that it’s like a big thing—which, there’s so many great players, but I was on a mission back then trying to make a name for myself, so I wasn’t really focused on other players.”
Q: Favorite home-cooked meal? (submitted by IsTHIStheyearLions?)
“Anything my mom cooks. She has a masterpiece of whatever she makes. So, yeah, I’d have to say my mom’s cooking.
Q: Any one particular meal?
Q: Last book you read? (submitted by IsTHIStheyearLions?)
Q: Have you met Mitch Albom?
“I actually met him at the game, and I told him, ‘Hey, I love your book,’ but it was just like a quick second, because I think he was trying to interview other guys. So it was pretty cool.”
Q: How are you handling Michigan weather? Looking forward to winter? (submitted by CrawDawgs)
“(laughs) I’m excited to see snow for the first time, and that’s probably all I’m excited about.
Q: What about playing in cold weather?
“I’ve played in 20s when I played at Wyoming my junior year. So I have a little taste of what the cold feels like—that kind of cold, I guess. Snow is a different element.”
Q: What did you know about the Lions before you came here? (submitted by Spartan Tide)
“What I knew about the Lions, I mean, the biggest names I kept remembering—2 guys—were Megatron and Barry Sanders. Barry Sanders was before my time, of course, but Megatron, man, he was like the next (Randy) Moss. All you see is him going against four DBs and just Moss’ing them. It was awesome getting to see that guy play. It’s unfortunate I didn’t get to play with him, but it was pretty cool seeing highlights of him when I was younger.
Q: Any pregame rituals or music? (submitted by Christopher Tomke)
“Yeah, I have a playlist with my brothers. They hop on my Apple Music. We just have our little tunes.
But my rituals are just, I don’t know, to be honest. Nothing crazy. I feel like it’s pretty traditional.
Q: Golden Tate used to eat ice cream the night before ...
“Oh, I used to do that, but now that we get fined for weigh-ins, I’m scared to do that. So I’ve got to make sure I watch what I eat. Because he probably burns more fat than I did.
In college, my rituals were that. Eat ice cream, some chips and watch my favorite TV show right before I go to bed. Then, I think I have to wake up at a certain time, then go shower, then once I have my headphones on, then I’m just relaxed.”
Q: Give me a taste of that playlist.
“My music, it builds up. So I’ll start off with either gospel music and like island reggae music and then it just builds up to whatever, to be honest. Whether it’s Meek Mill or just EDM kind of music and then it’ll just keep rising.”
Q: Growing up in warm weather, do you have any water sports experience? (submitted by mochaj)
Q: No surfing?
“Not really. I love the beach and everything, but I just didn’t really...”
Q: Wasn’t your thing?
“If you’ve seen the waves out there, man... LA, I can handle that, I’ll bodyboard and everything, but when it comes to comes to surfing in Hawaii, I don’t trust those waves, man. Mother Nature is not one to mess with.”
Q: Would you rather have a sack/fumble or an interception? (submitted by rsm16_2000)
“Frickin interception. An interception is so hard to come by, so I want an interception.”
Want to be a part of the next “Ask a Lion?” We’re taking question submissions for Da’Shawn Hand and Jamal Agnew here.