The phrase hometown hero gets thrown around a lot in sports, but there’s no person it might to apply more than Aidan Hutchinson of the Detroit Lions.
From high school to college to the pros, Hutchinson has crafted a unique path to the NFL, and every step of the way, it has involved the state of Michigan. On Sunday, September 11, that finally came full-circle.
Hutchinson got to experience a professional game in Ford Field as a member of the Lions, and as he said, it was a wild phenomenon given it’s one of the only stadiums he’s known in his entire career.
“I’ve played in that stadium before. In eighth grade, then I played when I was a junior and a senior (in high school). It was just weird being able to play there, you go there, it’s packed, sold out crowd, I’m looking in the stands and I see a bunch of 97 jerseys. It’s really crazy,” he said. “It was one of those moments where you stand there, you kind of soak it all in and you got to play some ball then. It was great.”
Hutchinson joined Heavy on behalf of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II. The game officially launches on October 28, but preorder Beta access starts September 16 and 17 for PlayStation and September 22 and 23 for Xbox and PC. Beta will feature multiplayer, new maps, modes and weapons.
For Hutchinson, gaming and specifically Call of Duty has long been an important part of the routine, as it allows an escape from football while still providing a way for teammates to bond off the field.
“Call of Duty has always been a nice game to come back to after long practices if you want to decompress and play some video games with some of your boys on the team. It’s a very good thing where you can bond over it, and I am super excited for Modern Warfare II to come out so I can get back on and get playing with some of the boys again and hopefully some of the boys on the Lions now,” he said.
While Hutchinson admitted he did not yet know which Lions gamers he classified as the best and worst on the team, he assured that he will soon be finding out.
As Hutchinson has already shown, he’s all Detroit, and no moment may have summed that up more than a clip that recently went viral.
Hutchinson: ‘Wild’ to Hear Eminem Shout-Out
Perhaps one of the best moments on Hard Knocks was Huchinson’s viral performance of Michael Jackson’s hit song Billie Jean. Everyone in the NFL knows about the act now, and the performance has even begun to transcend sports.
When rapper Eminem came to Detroit’s practice on the show, he got a tour of the Lions facility. When he got a look inside the meeting room, he cited the fact that it was the place where Hutchinson did Billie Jean. How did Hutchinson react to Eminem knowing him?
“That was wild, I didn’t watch the last episode but I saw that. That’s crazy to me that Eminem even knows who I am and even knows my name. It was wild looking at that clip,” he said with a laugh.
It would be hard for a couple of Detroit guys to not know each other, so perhaps this is merely the start of a great relationship between the two. Obviously, that’s something Hutchinson would probably love.
Hutchinson Looks Forward to Growth With Lions
In terms of how the first game on the field played out, Hutchinson knows that the team’s defense endured some growing pains. He had hinted before the game that lessons would be learned from Week 1.
“I thought it wasn’t our best performance, obviously, letting up 38 points, you’re not going to win to manny ballgames. I thought we learned a lot about ourselves. I thought we came out in that fourth quarter especially, we played really well. There were some points in the middle of the game where we were struggling a bit. We have a lot of growing to do as a defense and as a team, so we got a lot more football left, so it’s going to be a fun rest of the season.”
As for his goals, Hutchinson admits that at this point, learning is a huge variable for him.
“Staying healthy is always the biggest thing, after every game if I come out healthy I am happy. My season goal? I’m just happy if I keep getting better every game. I know I am young and have a lot to learn. I’m just really excited to see my own development as we go through this very long season,” Hutchinson said.
Helping Hutchinson to achieve those goals as a veteran? A few of the team’s key leaders in the defensive room.
“I’d say either Charles (Harris) or Michael Brockers (have helped my development),” there’s a lot of different guys especially in our room we got some older vets in there so it’s really good having those guys around since they’ve seen so much,” he said. “I’d say those two, just being guys I can look up to and kind of follow them, look at their routines in terms of their day to day and see how I can replicate that.”
It will be a long road for Hutchinson and the Lions the rest of the 2022 season, but the rookie has good examples in-house, time to grow within a young defense and an excited fanbase to back him up.
As a whole, that’s a pretty good base for a youngster to start with.
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