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Mack on TE competition: 'It's been a battle'

Every day and every practice play in the Detroit Lions' training camp is a learning opportunity for Alize Mack in his bid to win a roster spot as a backup tight end.

Mack is familiar with the grind of competing for a job. The Lions are his fourth team since being drafted by the Saints in the seventh round out of Notre Dame in 2019.

In addition to the Saints, Mack has spent time with the Steelers and Chiefs. He was primarily on the practice squad with all three teams.

"It's been a battle," Mack said of the competition in Lions camp after Tuesday's practice. "That's definitely what I can say. We're all competing in that. It's all about reps ... repetitions.

"Taking what we do in the classroom and individual period and taking it into our team work.

"I'm progressing every day, and it's been great."

The Lions are set with two veterans at the top of the tight end depth chart: T.J. Hockenson, a rising star who made the Pro Bowl in 2020 in his second season, and backup Darren Fells, who's in his eighth season and spent 2017 with the Lions.

Brock Wright, Hunter Thedford and Charlie Taumoepeau are competing with Mack for a backup job behind Hockenson and Fells.

For Mack and the others competing for a roster spot, there's a learning opportunity from what they see on the field from Hockenson and Fells and what they hear from their experiences.

"T.J.'s one of the top tight ends in the league," Mack said. "You don't become a Pro Bowler for no reason. And a guy like Darren Fells who's been in the league eight years ... it's been an honor to have those guys in the classroom and on the field."

Mack tries to remain consistent, and he does not get caught up in obsessing on the depth chart and where he stands in the competition for a job.

"A huge part is consistency," he said. "Being the same guy every day. Bringing energy ... competing. We're all sore. We're getting to the dog days of camp.

"Coming out competing, being relentless -- having that mentality, 'I'm going to dominate.' It's football. We're all pros. At the end of the day, Coach Duce (Staley) always talks about it: 'One bad play, next rep.'

"You have to have a short memory for sure, but grit man. We're building a tough football team here."

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