Most everybody in the NFL knows now about Dan Campbell and his propensity to speak from the heart, but if you’re a Detroit Lions rookie, you could be forgiven for not knowing just what you’re getting into with your new coach.
Levi Onwuzurike plays his football on the west coast, so he likely didn’t think much about Campbell’s raucous introduction to the team in January. Now that he was drafted by the Lions, though, he hasn’t wasted any time learning about Campbell and his affinity for his players to dine on kneecaps metaphorically.
A day after his selection, Onwuzurike hopped on Twitter and asked a simple question: what is it about those kneecaps in Detroit?
My Detroit Family what is this talk about kneecaps?😂 I don’t know if I’m supposed to take em or if it’s a good.
Educate me please😂
— Levi Onwuzurike. (@LeviOnw) May 1, 2021
Naturally, Lions fans provided him several good responses to show him what his new team is all about and the meaning.
Though Onwuzurike might not understand the bit about the kneecaps now, he fits Detroit’s culture more than he might might know. When he was introduced in a conference call, he went off on a rant of his own while explaining what he loves to do on defense which included multiple expletives.
Soon enough, the defensive tackle will understand what his new coach means when talking about kneecaps. It will be exciting to see the pair join forces in the Motor City.
Campbell Explains Kneecap Rant Meaning
Joining Good Morning Football, a few weeks after the rant made headlines, Campbell was asked about the now-legendary opening presser and if it was something he cooked up. As he said, he didn’t realize until he watched later the violent nature, but he was merely excited and in the moment. It was also a special and targeted message.
He talks about what it means to rep Detroit, what he will bring to Motown, his favorite @Metallica album, and so much more!
"This place needed hope and I needed to give it to them." pic.twitter.com/frWypqePiQ
— GMFB (@gmfb) January 22, 2021
“I would say this, now I was thinking about things but more importantly, no offense to anybody else who’s outside of this community, my message was for our players and for our community for Motown. That to me was who I needed to reach. It wasn’t about, no offense, everybody outside of this community and I’m trying to reach New York and Dallas and Los Angeles. That didn’t mean anything to me. I knew that this was the community that I was speaking to. I felt like I wanted them to have a piece of me, and I wanted them to know that I get it. I know this, this place needed hope. I needed to give it to them. I needed to give them something. I speak from the heart, I’ve always been that way, I speak to players that way. It’s just kind of who I am.”
Listening to the message again with the Onwuzurike pick in mind, it sounds as if Campbell might end up being a kindred spirit for his new defensive tackle in the end given the passion both seem to share for football and the toughness with how they play the game.
Onwuzurike Stats and Highlights
The Lions needed some major help in the trenches and Onwurzurike can theoretically provide it. He collected 95 tackles in his time in college to go with 16 tackles for-loss and 7 sacks. Onwurzurike opted out of the 2020 season, but he showed well in 2019 when he last played. Teams looking to draft Onwuzurike were likely looking at his ability to be physical and tough in the trenches and develop into a great player in the middle.
In Detroit, Onwuzurike can be expected to fit in well with Michael Brockers and the team’s front at tackle. A look at the tape shows the kind of twitch and athleticism that folks love.
The Lions hope he can develop into a stud up front for the team as many expect. It’s fair to assume he will pair perfectly with Campbell in Detroit given how similar the two seem to be.
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