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Former Tennessee QB Hendon Hooker successful with Vols, and now Detroit Lions

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Dear Hendon Hooker,

I owe you an apology. Admittedly I was frustrated when you were drafted by the Detriot Lions, which have been one of the most pathetic franchises in the NFL and all of sports. I thought you deserved better because you were such a great player and leader at Tennessee and even – by all accounts – a better person during your time at Tennessee, which ended in a magical 2022 run, which was highlighted by wins over Alabama and Florida. 

I guess I was hoping you’d be selected by a tradition-laden, successful franchise like the Dallas Cowboys, the Pittsburgh Steelers or the New England Patriots. In retrospect, those teams weren’t quite so successful this season – to different degrees. Now, it’s the Lions that are making noise in the playoffs.

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I even (somewhat) jokingly said you should sit out there year and re-enter the NFL Draft. Again, I was wrong. That would have gotten you shunned by the league and was, in retrospect, an emotional response. I won’t, however, apologize for saying that you couldn’t overcome being drafted by any team. Your stubbornness to succeed in college was proof that you could succeed in the NFL despite the challenges. When you were drafted by the Lions, I thought you would eventually have to have success elsewhere as they would eventually fail you. That hasn’t been the case. In fact, the Lions made sure to clear way for you to be on the postseason roster. Not surprisingly, the Lions see what they have in Hooker and that’s a very special talent. Moreover, the future looks bright. 

First, the Lions are being run better than they’ve been managed in about half a century. Second, there’s no reason you can’t be a starter in Detroit fairly soon. Lions’ quarterback Jared Goff led Detroit into the playoffs, but he doesn’t have a long-term choke-hold on the starting job despite two consecutive solid seasons. However, that could change since Goff is expected to receive a contract extension. 

Goff’s current deal runs out after this season. While he may receive an extension, he could also look elsewhere. Even if he does sign a long-term deal with the Lions, I’m not ruling you out after what I saw you overcome in college. It wouldn’t surprise me if you’re eventually a starter in Detroit nor would it surprise me if you became a starter elsewhere.

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In closing, things seem to be working out for you in the NFL, Mr. Hooker, and that’s a good thing. It’s nice to see things work out well for good people. It’s nice to see things work out spectacularly for great people, which you certainly seem to be one.

My apologies for raining on your draft day parade. I couldn’t be more happy to be wrong.

Kudos and here’s to continued success,

Dave Hooker

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