LIONS INSIDER

Fauria: 'I’m expecting myself to come back strong'

Posted Jun 18, 2015

Tight end Joseph Fauria expects to come back strong after spending the majority of the 2014 season on the sidelines with an ankle injury.

Joseph Fauria stormed onto the NFL scene during the 2013 season with a few highlight-reel catches and some ... um ... interesting moves in the post-touchdown dance department.

Joe FauriaTE Joe Fauria (Photo: Detroit Lions)

Fauria became just the fourth tight end in team history to record seven touchdowns in a season as an undrafted rookie out of UCLA, and was one of the better feel-good stories of the 2013 season for the Lions.

But 2014 wasn't as feel good for Fauria.

The Lions drafted Eric Ebron to be their featured tight end, and an ankle injury sidelined Fauria for nine games and eventually landed him on injured reserve in early December. He finished with just six catches for 74 yards and one touchdown.

“Extremely frustrating,” Fauria said after Wednesday's minicamp practice of his 2014 season. “But it’s something you have to overcome. Football is frustrating, you know. Everyone has injuries. Everyone has trials and tribulations and it’s how you answer them and how you come back. I’m expecting myself to come back strong.”

Fauria can be a unique weapon for the Lions at 6-foot-7 -- he seems taller -- 267 pounds and possessing soft hands. The Lions utilized him often in the red zone in 2013, but the ankle injury prevented them from doing that with any regularity last season.

“He has a unique skill set,” head coach Jim Caldwell said of his big tight end. “When you’re not able to utilize everything that’s available to you, you know, obviously you have to find other ways to do it.

“So, he brings to the table a little something that you can’t teach. He has height and he can position himself, particularly in the red zone, extremely well.”

Fauria hasn’t been able to do much this offseason after opting against surgery for the injured ankle. He received a number of opinions, including those of the team doctors, and decided rest and rehabilitation was the best course of action for him.

He says he’ll be on the field and ready to go for the start of training camp in August, but his absence this offseason has allowed others to showcase some of their skills.

Jordan Thompson, who spent a majority of last season on the practice squad, and undrafted rookie Casey Pearce, have made the most of the reps they've gotten behind Ebron and Brandon Pettigrew. The team also signed veteran tight end David Ausberry to compete for a roster spot.

Fauria still brings something to the table no other tight end on this team can with his size and his hands. He's excited to get back on the field healthy again in training camp so he can make this team and accomplish two goals this upcoming season.

“Just to help my team win,” he said. “And do some dances.”