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If the opening episode of Hard Knocks’ portrayal of Detroit Lions training camp was about getting to know head coach Dan Campbell and some of the franchise cornerstones such as Aidan Hutchinson, the second one was a love letter to the city and an introduction to some of the other players.
Whether it was members of the team explaining what Detroit represents to them, old footage of the Lions’ mascot and the Silverdome, and a training camp visit from the legendary Barry Sanders, the city and its history served as a clear backdrop for Tuesday’s episode.
Detroit is Home.
Detroit is Love.
Detroit is the Jungle.#HardKnocks 🏈 #OnePride
23 Days Till NFL Football @BostonConnr
No way this used to be the Lions mascot.
No. Way. #HardKnocks pic.twitter.com/d47LWOs44D
Lions legend @BarrySanders stopped by for a visit. Could he still play? 🤔 (via @nflfilms)
📺: #HardKnocks with the @Lions airs tonight at 10pm ET on @hbomax pic.twitter.com/1Oo8wc8pTv
Detroit Griot @JustCallmeBHunt
I will never get tired of watching Barry Sanders highlights. Best running back ever!#HardKnocks
NFL Films @NFLFilms
The #1 threat to ankles in the 90s @BarrySanders | #HardKnocks pic.twitter.com/Sj4CrWu45i
There were also a number of players on the forefront, including rookie linebacker Malcolm Rodriguez and wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown.
Both of them inspired plenty of reactions from viewers, especially when Rodriguez thrived in practice and St. Brown named all 16 wide receivers who were selected ahead of him during the 2021 NFL draft when he wasn’t training with his father and two-time Mr. Universe, John Brown:
Kory Woods @KoryEWoods
Amon-Ra St. Brown right now… pic.twitter.com/0cjS40s0kh
Brad Galli @BradGalli
Amon-Ra St. Brown has receipts. All of them. #HardKnocks
The Incredible Meg @Incredible_Meg
Amon-Ra St. Brown watching all 16 WR’s get drafted before him. #HardKnocks #Lions pic.twitter.com/8lxmIr3W5d
Derek Jones @DerekJones79
Random #HardKnocks highlight: John Brown, the father of Amon-Ra St. Brown and a former Mr. Universe, took a random shot at Kevin Durant because of the latter’s torn Achilles. “I have a question for guys like Kevin Durant…when was the last time you did a calf raise?”
Nick Leach @NickLeach_
44 is built DIFFERENT #Rodrigo #OnePride | #HardKnocks
Bill Jones @CBS11BillJones
I’ll never understand how Rodrigo lasted until the 6th round. 📗#HardKnocks
Remembering those names certainly worked for St. Brown because he tallied 90 catches for 912 yards and five touchdowns as a rookie.
Other standout moments from Tuesday’s episode was another memorable speech from Campbell and backup quarterback David Blough supporting his wife, Melissa Gonzalez, while she competed in the previous Olympics and trained for the next ones.
Detroit Lions @Lions
All good, men
🎥 @NFLFilms | #HardKnocks pic.twitter.com/qakiJt7GyN
Jamie Edmonds @Jamie_Edmonds
I love the Bloughs #HardKnocks
It all built toward the preseason opener against the Atlanta Falcons, which was an unfortunate turn of events for Blough. After all, he fumbled the ball late in the fourth quarter while protecting a three-point lead, and Atlanta responded by driving down the field and scoring a touchdown in the final two minutes to secure a 27-23 win.
Attention will now turn toward Detroit’s ability to bounce back in the second preseason game against the Indianapolis Colts.
It will surely be highlighted in the third episode next Tuesday at 10 p.m. ET on HBO and HBO Max.
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