If tight end Devin Funchess ends up making the Detroit Lions roster, he will have a surprising source to thank for all the deft moves that helped get him over the top.
Yes, big men can jump and aren’t afraid to, at least in the case of Funchess. What started as a way to understand what his daughter wanted to enjoy has become a new source of his own training on the field.
Speaking to the media on Friday, August 12, Funchess explained the origins of what he’s doing now.
“I’ve been doing the natural (the) last 18 months. My daughter wanted to do it so I said I’ll go try it out before she gets into it to make sure it was safe. It helped me out a little bit with what I do, and she had fun with it too so it’s a family affair,” he said.
In terms of what Funchess said the training has helped him with, balance and awareness would be on top of the list.
“Just spacial awareness, understanding where you are in the air of course, everything. I could just basically slow time down,” he admitted.
The training looks to have paid off already. Funchess had a play in which he managed to show off his hops, hurdling over a defender. It’s a dangerous move, but with his extra training, Funchess was able to confidently stick the landing.
“I was just in the moment. I felt like they were just shooting at my knees, so it was like, ‘I’m not about to get hit in the knees again, so just jump over.’ That’s always a little bit of a scary thing. You kind of just do it instinctively, and then you kind of get up,” Funchess said.
Funchess has not only gotten up in terms of his leaping ability, but metaphorically as well. He’s feeling good and once again chasing down a role on a team.
Lions Tight Ends Embracing Competition
In terms of where he stands in the crowded tight end battle, Funchess doesn’t seem to care. He’s just enjoying the work with a room where he is feeling the love and respect.
“Everybody in the tight end room just helped me so much tremendously. Head coach helping me, everybody helping me so it’s just fun to be able to compete and have fun with the guys again,” he said.
Specifically, Funchess appreciates every single one of the players that he is working with at this point.
“Shane (Zylstra), Brock (Wright), T.J. (Hockenson), (Garrett) Griffin, (Derrick) Deese, James (Mitchell) and Nolan (Givan),” he said. “Everybody, they treat me with the utmost respect and they teach me everything that I need to know so it’s competition, but they love me and they just teach me everything. I’m so appreciative about that.”
Let the chips fall where they may in terms of the roster situation, but Funchess is simply enjoying getting to be part of a solid room of players.
Funchess Made Opening Statement With Touchdown
As of now, Funchess is putting all of his training to good use, and it showed up in a big way at Ford Field in his first game.
Against Atlanta while competing for a job on his hometown team and Friday night, he made the most of the situation. Early in the game, Funchess hauled in a touchdown pass to give the Lions a lead, showing his ability to post up in the end zone:
All told, Funchess would finish with 1 touchdown. The Lions have to like his versatility in terms of being able to play tight end and wide receiver. He offers the offense something different, and a potential matchup nightmare given his size.
It’s a small sample size, but Funchess should like where he stands after this performance. If he manages to win a job in the end, he might have gymnastics training to thank most of all.