The Detroit Lions have seen plenty of players step up and make a name for themselves in the short term only to disappear, but who has been the best of the best?
Recently, ESPN took a closer look at naming every team’s one hit wonder and according to writer Michael Rothstein, the answer is a familiar one to Lions fans in tight end Joseph Fauria.
Here’s a look at what Rothstein wrote about why Fauria is the perfect choice:
“The undrafted rookie from UCLA was a red zone star his first season in the league, catching seven touchdown passes — including three against the Browns — despite collecting just 18 receptions for 207 yards. While he emerged as a big target for Matthew Stafford that season, his celebratory dance moves, before the NFL relaxed its celebration rules, got him noticed by Jimmy Fallon.”
In Detroit, Fauria will always be known for those dance moves as well as the touchdown outburst he had for the Lions. Sadly, however, he could never keep that early career magic alive, which led him to becoming a one hit wonder in the first place.
Joseph Fauria’s Lions History
After the big season, Fauria struggled with injury and could not maintain what he was able to do in the first season in the league. He had an injury which seemed comical at the time when he claimed to slip and fall on the stairway chasing new his puppy who was relieving himself. That story, however, was outed as false years later by Fauria himself who revealed he instead suffered the ankle problem playing volleyball and covered it up from the team.
His final career stat line? 24 receptions, 281 yards and 8 touchdowns. Not bad for essentially having a cup of coffee in the league.
Fauria is out of football now, and currently podcasting. According to Rothstein’s piece, he is also trying to make it as an actor and comedian as well.
Tough to imagine have a better story for an opener that than the one which helps define his NFL career to this point.
Other Recent Lions One Hit Wonders
Fauria is a good choice by the piece as the team’s top one hit wonder, but he is far from the only player who has made a case for this honor through the years. It’s fair to also call out some players who had similar careers in Detroit.
Here’s a look at some other contenders that Lions fans might remember.
Kevin Smith, RB. The running back looked like a steal based on early work in 2004, but like in the case of Fauria, injuries and other troubles intervened and kept Smith from ever seriously becoming an answer at the spot. Instead of solving the team’s long standing problem at running back, Smith instead became yet another in the revolving door at the position since Barry Sanders retired.
Titus Young, WR. Young flashed some amazing talent and potential during the same era Fauria starred with the Lions, but simply couldn’t get out of his own way in terms of fitting in with the Lions and managing legal problems. If Young had remained consistent, he could have been a true deep threat for the Lions offense, but he got into a training camp fight, was off the roster and quickly incarcerated soon after that while attempting to manage his demons.
Louis Delmas, S. Unlike many of the other names on the list, Delmas had a few solid seasons in Detroit, but his star never grew quite as bright as many Lions fans would have hoped. Delmas, a local product from Western Michigan, put together a solid rookie season but ultimately only lasted from 2009-2015 in the league. For a second round pick, his star burned out fairly fast.
Teddy Lehman, LB. After being the only rookie linebacker to start every game in 2004 and piling up 102 tackles, Lehman couldn’t maintain consistency and had his own injury issues which hampered his career. As a whole, Lehman would only finish with 150 total tackles in his career, a total that would have been thought to be unheard of after the rookie season.