Eric Ebron Kicks Off Quicken Loans 400

Posted Jun 15, 2014

Tight end Eric Ebron served as the grand marshal for the Quicken Loans 400 at Michigan International Speedway on Sunday.

There have been plenty of firsts for rookie tight end Eric Ebron since he was drafted by the Lions last month.

His first team meeting, his first time on an NFL practice field, his first NFL touchdown catch in practice – the list grew with each day.

Sunday marked another new experience for Ebron when he kicked off the Quicken Loans 400 at Michigan International Speedway as the race’s grand marshal.

Despite growing up the NASCAR hotbed of North Carolina, Ebron said he had only been to a race once before. And that experience as a spectator was much different than the one he enjoyed on Sunday.

Eric EbronTE Eric Ebron, WR Calvin Johnson and NASCAR driver Joey Logano talk after a Lions OTA practice earlier in June(Photo: Detroit Lions).

“This is my first NASCAR race being a part of, so now I get to experience something different,” Ebron said before the event. “Maybe when I’m in North Carolina and Charlotte Motor Speedway, I’ll go to it because I know how fun and exciting it can be.”

Ebron got some exposure to the Michigan racing scene earlier in June when Joey Logano and MIS president Roger Curtis visited Lions practice. But it didn’t take that visit to show Ebron how big of a deal the sport is.

“Being from North Carolina, you hear a lot about NASCAR,” Ebron said. “It’s a big, big NSACAR-based city, Charlotte and the state of North Carolina. I talked to Joey Logano when he came down to the facility.”

As grand marshal, it was the tight end’s responsibility to start the race with the traditional “gentlemen, start your engines” line.

Starting the race was what Ebron said he was looking forward to the most.

“Not a lot of people get to do stuff like that,” he said. “I don’t take anything I’m able to do for granted. I’m ready for everything.”

Since being drafted in the first round in May, Ebron’s life has been a whirlwind. With the Lions OTA and minicamp practices coming to an end last week, the rookie is looking forward to going back home to North Carolina to relax before the start of training camp in July.

“I haven’t had one chance to actually sit down and think about my life and how quickly it evolved in one blink of an eye,” he said. “I’ll probably get that chance when I’m back home in North Carolina.”

Ebron clearly enjoyed his time at the race, as he tweeted afterwards:

Click here to view photos of Ebron at the race.

There were technical difficulties with the microphone at the racetrack, so if you weren't able to hear Ebron start the race, watch the video below: