The final episode of “Hard Knocks: Training Camp with the Detroit Lions” was tough to watch. Dan Skipper was on the verge of tears, Dan Campbell was in agony for the majority of the episode, and we got to see the Lions’ frustrating quarterback situation play out.
But there was also a fair amount of hope in the finale. Players showed a tremendous amount of understanding when the cuts came down, and some even took it upon themselves to hand out compliments for how the team was doing business.
Of course, like any episode, there was humorous moments mixed in. But the show also nailed the landing, providing a couple of Lions coaches with a prompt to put a button on the season.
Here are the 12 best quotes from Tuesday’s “Hard Knocks” finale.
“There ain’t nothing else you could do. You did everything you could possibly fucking do. You put it on tape and it’s all out there, and we’ve got to go another way. So, I hate it, because you earned it. You fucking earned it and it falls into, ‘Well, what about body type? What about a true outside receiver?” — Dan Campbell to Tom Kennedy
In terms of his personality and work ethic, Tom Kennedy is everything Dan Campbell wants in a player, which likely made this one the tougher cuts for him. But he laid it out pretty clearly: Tom Kennedy’s physical limitations—to no fault of his own—were what cost him a roster spot. But he’s back on the practice squad.
“The story is still being written for all of us. I wish the best for both of you guys. You guys are hell of a dudes, and I know your impact is even more than you probably know. So keep going.” — Godwin Igwebuike
I can’t think of a more gracious exit during what has to be an extremely disappointing moment in this man’s career. Igwebuike was one of the Lions’ toughest cuts, and he takes the news like a champ, making sure to compliment Dan Campbell and Brad Holmes on the way out in an extremely professional way. Just a stunning moment.
“Show it. It’s a show league.” — DBs coach Aubrey Pleasant
This episode we dive back into Chase Lucas, and we can see just how much this game of football means to him, as he badgers the coaching staff to believe in him and not cut him. Eventually, Pleasant ends the conversation by telling him to stop talking and start showing.
“I’m not gonna lie to you, coach. I have a feeling I’m about to be great, bro.” — Lucas
You’ve got to love this kid’s confidence. It doesn’t feel like cockiness, either, because you hear coaches throughout this episode say similar things like “there’s something about this kid.”
“Amon, you’re not an artist, so you can’t appreciate it like I can.” — John Brown
No comment here, I’m just so glad they brought back Mr. Sun God for the final episode.
“By the way, just want to say I appreciate you having me here. You know, man, like I tell some of the guys in the locker room, I see what y’all are doing here, both of y’all. You know, you’re building a winning program, but also you’re building a culture where men can be themselves. I see that, and I appreciate that.” — Obinna Eze
Eze is about to walk out of the room after Holmes and Campbell cut him, but gave him their best pitch convince him to come back on the practice squad. But before he goes—just in case he wasn’t going to see them again—he gave a speech much like Igwebuike’s. I’ve watched a lot of “Hard Knocks” and you’ll very commonly see players say something to the effect of “Thanks for the opportunity.” I have never seen anything like this... much less a few times.
“He is the #2 requested jersey. We’ve created a monster. Behind him. 97.” — team president Rod Wood
Yes, that’s Rod Wood telling Dan Campbell that Malcolm Rodriguez—sixth-round pick—is the second-best selling Lions jersey right now behind NUMBER TWO OVERALL PICK AIDAN HUTCHINSON. Rodrigo hype is out of control, and I love it.
“It’s like the worst. Like that’s the absolute worst that could’ve happened. I just think he feels like this is a dead-end street here. Where there he may still have a chance to compete as the No. 2 eventually. I just talked to him. He was—it was hard. He was shook up, and I told him, I said, ‘Hey man, I get it. I understand.’”
We finally got a little clarity on what happened with David Blough, albeit from Campbell, not Blough himself. In a conversation over the phone with an unidentified person, Campbell expresses frustration over losing him to, of all teams, a division rival when Blough opted to sign with the Vikings’ practice squad over Detroit’s. But, as expected, Blough believed there was a better opportunity for growth in Minnesota.
“For me, it’s about proving to myself that every single day I can keep getting better being a part of an organization that’s going to allow me to compete. Being able to go to a new organization and see a new culture, be around a new group of guys and being a part of building something special with coach (Kevin) O’Connell is something that’s enticing to me, and I really am looking forward to kinda getting this thing going, learning as best as I can and being a part of it.” — Blough
I’m sure some will view parts of this explanation from Blough as shade at the Lions, but it truly seems like he knew that his shot at truly competing for the No. 2 job in Detroit was over—and he was probably right.
Nothing made me more proud than last year at this time. We had this little rep count, (Penei) Sewell was a rookie. We get all the way down there, and we’re almost getting in to score, and I pull him out because of his deal. He comes over and is ‘motherfucking’ me. A rookie, just ‘motherfucking’ me. It’s like a tear in my eye, man. Made me so proud.” — Campbell
It’s a shame we didn’t get more Penei Sewell in “Hard Knocks.”
“The 2022 Detroit Lions will put the NFL on notice.” — LB coach Kelvin Sheppard
FUCK YEAH, KELVIN SHEPPARD.
“The 2022 Detroit Lions will be the team that can and will.” — Campbell
It took Dan Campbell exactly one minute of thinking to come up with this answer, and the “Hard Knocks” crew stuck with him for every second, and he deliberated to make sure he delivered an accurate message. It’s simple, yet powerful. It doesn’t promise anything, yet it promises everything. I can’t freakin’ wait until Sunday.