When the Detroit Lions needed a big play on Sunday against the Chicago Bears, a familiar face showed up. For the past four years, wide receiver Tom Kennedy has been quietly in the shadows, typically practicing for the scout team, often making splashes in the preseason, but rarely being called upon on game days.
Injuries at receiver over the past two years have given Kennedy more opportunities to actually contribute during the regular season, and while his output is far from eye-popping, he has often made one or two big plays in big moments.
That was the case on Sunday, when Kennedy soundly beat Jaylon Johnson—the Bears’ No. 1 cornerback—on a big 44-yard gain, leading to what would be Detroit’s game-winning score.
“I thought Tom ran a great route, ran a great route,” Lions quarterback Jared Goff said after the game. “The game was somewhat on the line there and found him open. He ran a great route and made a great play.”
Kennedy didn’t just catch the eye of his quarterback on that play. Miami Dolphins All-Pro receiver Tyreek Hill also saw the play, and on Monday morning, he shared his thoughts on Kennedy on Twitter:
You can’t tell me Tom Kennedy don’t run like Wes Welker— Ty Hill (@cheetah) November 14, 2022
I’ll be honest, I’m not entirely sure if that’s a compliment or not. But given that Wes Welker may be a future Hall of Famer who was considered a pretty darn good route runner, that comment certainly seems more positive than negative. Even getting the attention of the best receiver in football right now has to be a cool moment for Kennedy.
Edit: As pointed out by Thom_not_Tom in the comment section, Wes Welker is the Dolphins (and Hill’s) wide receiver coach. That may make it less of a compliment and more of a tease of Welker.
The Lions receiver responded on Twitter:
(Note: It’s not 100% clear if this is Kennedy’s official Twitter account)