DETROIT - Former Detroit Lions tight end Joe Fauria spoke on the "Outta Bounds" podcast about the politics of the NFL and why he believes his career ended after the 2014 season.
Fauria, who played 23 games for the Lions in 2013 and 2014, caught 24 passes for 281 yards and eight touchdowns in his career. He went undrafted out of UCLA but exploded onto the scene in 2013 when he hauled in seven touchdowns on just 16 catches.
Two years later, he was out of the league for good.
"I'm 28 years old," Fauria said. "I'm not as old as T.O. (Terrell Owens). That's the thing. For the longest time I was mad at myself for being one of those guys who would chase after the dream when it was slipping through my fingers."
Fauria said the people in power in the NFL are constantly talking, and the politics of the league are all intertwined. He said a single comment about a player who once missed a meeting could impact someone's career.
"You guys know about how my career ended," Fauria said. "I'm very sure that that got out, people were talking, no one was in my corner and then I got fizzled out. For all (intents and) purposes, a 6-8, 250-pound tight end who catches three touchdowns in a game should still be in the league."
Fauria was referencing the Lions' Oct. 13, 2013, game in Cleveland, when quarterback Matthew Stafford threw the ball to Fauria three times -- all for touchdowns. The Lions won the game 31-17, largely thanks to the undrafted tight end.
"I don't really have any regrets," Fauria said. "I just have things that I wish would have gone differently."
Fauria said there are several players who get blackballed from the league, with the most high-profile case being Colin Kaepernick.
"Lets be very honest: Colin Kaepernick is not the only one to be blackballed in the NFL," Fauria said. "All this collusion that he's talking about -- he has this backing. He has this name. He had a lot of support because of all the - I don't want to say all the mess he's made, but the topics he's talking about and the stuff that he's brought to the forefront."
Fauria said he supports Kaepernick, who has brought more attention to collusion in the league.
"He has that ability to kind of fight back, which is amazing and I support the man and that's cool," Fauria said. "But to believe that he's the only one going through this -- it's just that it's now being actually talked about."
Kaepernick became a household name when he decided to kneel for the national anthem to protest injustices in the country. While he took the San Francisco 49ers to a Super Bowl, the protests are what Kaepernick is best known for.
But the former star quarterback has been out of the league since 2016, and many people believe it's more about the baggage off the field than his play that's giving teams pause.
But Fauria wants people to know it's not just Kaepernick fighting to get back in the league.
"A lot of guys get blackballed from the NFL," Fauria said. "A lot. Collusion happens. Being blackballed happens. I just don't have a big 'fro and I didn't take a knee for a good cause. I just was trying to play football. I'm a big supporter of Colin Kaepernick, but he's not the only one that gets blackballed. he's not the only one that gets colluded against. There's more than one person."
Fauria is currently living in Brooklyn but plans to move back to his hometown of Los Angeles before the end of the year. He said he's considered playing football again in another league, but he's not sure if it will happen.
You can listen to the full "Outta Bounds" interview with Fauria below. WARNING: There is strong and explicit language during the interview.
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