Tony Gonzalez spoke glowingly about Detroit Lions‘ tight end T.J. Hockenson, and even offered to help him become an elite tight end in the NFL.
As it turns out, Hockenson is more than open to the idea. In fact, right after Gonzalez shared his thoughts on Hockenson, the rookie tight end took to Twitter to say that he was ready and willing to meet, whenever and wherever it works for the Hall of Famer.
Clearly, Hockenson is motivated to get his career on the right track and willing to take whatever knowledge he can in order to make it happen.
That’s great news for the Lions and their offense, who needs Hockenson to be great in his NFL future.
Tony Gonzalez Lauds T.J. Hockenson
According to Fox Sports analyst Tony Gonzalez, Hockenson can be a great player in the league, and even an All-Pro. Gonzalez spoke with Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press in a piece, and provided his take on Hockenson, who he said has a bright future in the league.
Here’s what he said:
“He can be an All-Pro, no doubt about it,” Fox analyst Tony Gonzalez said Tuesday at Super Bowl 54. “Get him in the right system, he can be an All-Pro.”
Hockenson finished the season with 32 catches for 367 yards, third among rookie tight ends, but he impressed Gonzalez in other areas on and off the field.
“He’s great,” Gonzalez said. “He’s great. You know what the luxury of these tight ends that you’re seeing, when I was coming up — back in my day — you didn’t see too much of that receiving-type tight end, being so involved in the offense.
“And so for him to see guys like (Travis) Kelce and to see (George) Kittle in this game, he’s got to be inspired. And watching his ability, he’s a baller. Like, he is on his way to having an outstanding career.”
Gonzalez said that Hockenson can be as good as he wants to be for the Lions as long as he continues to work hard and challenge himself. Safe to say that won’t be a problem for a hard working young player, so the sky could be the limit, especially if he works with Gonzalez.
Injuries Cost T.J. Hockenson This Season
After his sterling debut, Hockenson faced injury trouble almost immediately. He hit the turf hard playing against the Kansas City Chiefs and missed time, was nearly hurt again in the middle of the season against the Oakland Raiders. Late in the season, Hockenson sustained a sickening looking foot injury which left him in a boot and cost him the end of the season.
Hockenson didn’t stay healthy, and if he had, would probably have enjoyed a much better year on the field. This could be part of the reason that Gonzalez is so optimistic about his future.
T.J. Hockenson’s Role With Lions
There is simply no understating the importance of Hockenson to the Lions in the future. The team didn’t get much of anything from any of the other tight ends on their roster, and while he hasn’t had the most dramatic statistical impact, Hockenson has easily been one of the team’s top rookies in 2019 and a player capable of impacting both the run and the passing games.
During the season, many fans chided Hockenson for not making a bigger impact on the game. He had only 367 yards and 2 touchdowns on the year which is not the statistical impact that many people expected from him as a top 10 selection for the team.
Safe to say if Hockenson was able to play the end of the season, his stats could have ended up different. The Lions will hope he can get things on the right track for 2020.
Working with the great tight end might be the quickest way for him to do just that.