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NOTEBOOK: Hutchinson ready to show what he can do in Year 2

Aidan Hutchinson led all NFL rookies in sacks with 9.5 last season and put himself in rare air in league history with three interceptions as a defensive lineman. He finished second in Defensive Rookie of the Year voting.

But he told the Twentyman in the Huddle podcast back in February that last season was just a snippet of what we'd see in Year 2.

"That was just a little appetizer," Hutchinson said then. "That's how I view it. A little appetizer. That was me being a rookie and not quite knowing – especially early in the year – not quite knowing the NFL and how things go and stuff like that. You give me this whole offseason of training; I'm going to take off to a new level."

Well, here we are after an offseason and a training camp in which Hutchinson has added muscle to his frame and looks to be even more powerful and explosive than he did as a rookie. He was terrific in camp and he's ready to show the world what having an offseason just to focus on his game will look like on the field starting Thursday in Kansas City for the regular-season opener.

"I'm really happy with how my camp went and everything went. I stayed healthy and I feel like I brought my game to a new level," Hutchinson said Tuesday. "I'm ready to showcase that this year and showcase this big step I've taken."

Offensive tackles beware.


Third-year defensive lineman Levi Onwuzurike is a terrific story for the Detroit Lions heading into the Week 1 opener. Onwuzurike dealt with a back injury as a rookie in 2021 but gutted through it and played in 16 games. When the pain came back the first padded practice of training camp last year Onwuzurike knew something was wrong.

"I needed a spinal fusion in my L5-S1," Onwuzurike wrote in a new series “Beyond” where Lions players tell their own stories. "It was pretty simple; the surgery could limit my flexibility and prevent me from playing football ever again. There are not a lot of guys who get this surgery and are able to come back to football."

But Onwuzurike has and he's been impressive doing it. So much so that Lions head coach Dan Campbell expects Onwuzurike to be a big piece of the puzzle for Detroit's defensive line this season.

"He kept working, he kept trusting what was being told and man, he's worked his way back and his body feels pretty good and so now, because of that, he's out there on the field, he's been able to – he's developing, like he's really coming on now," Campbell said.

"He gets better and better every day, every game, every rep and so now, the real growth begins and that's a credit to him. He puts the work in and so, I'm happy for him. I'm happy for us. He helps us. He upgrades us."


The players voted this week for their 2023 captains, and earning the nod are quarterback Jared Goff, wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown, tackle Penei Sewell, linebacker Alex Anzalone, defensive lineman Charles Harris and linebacker Jalen Reeves-Maybin.

Goff and Anzalone both return for their third consecutive year as team captains. Reeves-Maybin was also a captain during the 2021 season.

St. Brown and Sewell are first-time captains. Sewell becomes the team's third current offensive lineman to serve as a team captain, joining Frank Ragnow and Taylor Decker who have held that role previously.

"Every one of those guys are worthy of that position, that's an honor," Campbell said. "We're fortunate to have a lot of guys that are really, I would call, leaders on this team, so we're in a good spot, but congratulations to those guys."

View photos from Detroit Lions practice on Monday, September 4, 2023.


Could the Chiefs be without two of their three best players Thursday night against the Lions? It doesn't appear defensive tackle Chris Jones will play as he still hasn't reported to the team while in a contract dispute. Then news broke Tuesday afternoon that All-Pro tight end Travis Kelce hyper-extended his knee in practice. Chiefs head coach Andy Reid said his status for Thursday is uncertain.

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