Though they won’t be looking across the line of scrimmage at each other, T.J. Hockenson is geared up to go head-to-head with his good buddy George Kittle in just a few weeks.
The Detroit Lions kick off the season against the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday, Sept. 12 at Ford Field, when the two tight end pals will get competitive — but they’re apparently used to that.
“We’re always talking. We’ve always got a little competitive edge going, but it’s going to be fun,” Hockenson said Monday.
Back in their college days together at Iowa, Hockenson credits Kittle with training him to get ready for the NFL. What a good mentor to have, as Kittle remains among the top tight ends in the league. These days, the duo often seem to be hanging out (at least according to Instagram), and even star in backyard wrestling barbeque commercials together.
T.J. Hockenson and George Kittle are putting in that work pic.twitter.com/i0IMWZQbby— PFF Fantasy Football (@PFF_Fantasy) June 18, 2021
“It’s a game. Like I said, you approach every game the same. George is on the other side, that’s one of my best buds, so that just makes it even more special,” he said.
I’ve always liked this anecdote from Tim Twentyman’s piece in January 2020:
“T.J. is a hell of player. I remember his first summer workouts, him and Noah (Denver rookie first-round pick Noah Fant) came in and it was the very first 7-on-7 drill and he completely Mossed a guy, ripped the ball right out of his hands and I was like, ‘Well, good thing I’m graduating because he’ll probably take my spot.’”
And onto the rest of your notes.
- Who showed up Saturday evening against the Steelers? Who may have taken a step back? The Athletic’s Chris Burke offers his risers and fallers after the second preseason game. (Subscription required.)
- “Two games into the preseason, I see signs of the Lions having the type of rookie class that most teams would kill for.” Dave Birkett thinks we could look at this class and say it began the Lions turnaround. (Subscription required.)
- Dan Campbell had some kind words for Miggy on his big accomplishment:
Dan Campbell opens press conference congratulating Miguel Cabrera on HR 500. “Pretty damn impressive."— Tim Twentyman (@ttwentyman) August 23, 2021
- It isn’t Lions specific, but you might find this opinion piece by SB Nation’s James Dator pretty interesting. He talks about how each year the league has a point of emphasis where they crack down on a certain issue and it ends up having lasting effects on the game. I think the headline speaks for itself: ”The NFL’s new taunting rules prove how little owners care about fans and athletes.”
- Happpppy Birthday!
Happy birthday @__taylordecker‼️— Detroit Lions (@Lions) August 23, 2021