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Notes: T.J. Hockenson pumped to face good friend George Kittle in season opener

The buddies unite but this time on the field.

Buffalo Bills v Detroit Lions Photo by Nic Antaya/Getty Images

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.

“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.

  • “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:

  • Happpppy Birthday!