ALLEN PARK, Mich. – The Detroit Lions kicked off an unusual training camp Monday with under four weeks to prepare for their regular-season opener against the Chicago Bears.
Training camp started much later than usual, but Lions players are finally beginning to practice in pads.
Local 4′s Jamie Edmonds had her temperature taken at the Allen Park facility and then had to walk around the building to a designated credentialed area. People were social distancing, but if that’s what it takes to have a football season, everyone is all in.
There were signs all over Allen Park about being “COVID smart,” as defensive tackle Danny Shelton put it. But the overall feeling was one of excitement as football returned.
“It’s the first day of pads, and everyone is really excited to get going,” Shelton said.
Detroit has fewer than four weeks to prepare for the Bears, and that’s without organized team activities during the off-season or preseason games.
Quarterback Matthew Stafford is back to 100% after missing most of the 2019 season with injury. Wide receiver Kenny Golladay and tight end T.J. Hockenson have also returned from injury and look ready for the season.
“Me, personally, I’m excited,” Golladay said. “Ready to go. We’ve been without football for a long time and it’s good to be back in the building.”
There’s still some hesitation about the coronavirus (COVID-19) and staying safe. Hockenson tested positive and wound up on the COVID-19 injured list in July.
“It was pretty lonely,” Hockenson said. “Not a lot going on. No symptoms, so it was kind of a surprise. It was a week away from my teammates.”
Golladay also tested positive for COVID-19. He said his symptoms were mild.
“Fever lasted two days, nothing major,” Golladay said. “I’m 100% now and happy to be back on the field.”
Last year, despite leading in 14 of 16 games, the Lions went just 3-12-1. Hockenson said the problem is they didn’t finish, but they’re determined to change that this season.
You can hear more from the players and watch Jamie’s full story in the video posted above.