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Stenberg excited to be back on the field after quiet rookie season

Logan Stenberg doesn't need a stack of stats sheets or to spend a day in a meeting room watching video to remember the best and worst plays of his rookie season with the Detroit Lions and the ones in between.

He can count the plays of his rookie season on the fingers of one hand.

Stenberg was active for only two games, and he played only two snaps. Both were on special teams.

"That was it," Stenberg said Monday. "And I got blown up on one of them, by the way."

Is he always this honest and forthcoming about his performance?

"Oh yeah," Stenberg said. "I'll tell you anything you want to know. Open book right here."

View photos from practice at Detroit Lions Training Camp presented by Rocket Mortgage on Monday August 16, 2021.

It was far less than anyone expected when the Lions drafted Stenberg in the fourth round out of Kentucky, where he had a "mauler mentality" as a blocker.

Stenberg was in a good mood as he talked to a cluster of media members after a training camp practice.

Things are looking up for him. Stenberg played 30 snaps in the Lions' 16-15 loss to the Bills in their opening preseason game Friday night.

After playing only two snaps in his rookie season – none of them on offense – Stenberg was upbeat in talking about the lows of his rookie year and the bright spots of Year Two.

"It was great," he said. "I really haven't played any continuous snaps like that for two years – since my last bowl game in college. I'm just kind of getting my feet wet and getting back into it."

He admitted to feeling some nerves before that game as he thought about getting back on the field in competition with an opponent. That feeling disappeared quickly.

"Once I got that first hit under my belt, it was a football game," he said.

Offensive line coach Hank Fraley had told Stenberg during the practice week to prepare to get a heavy workload.

"I definitely knew going in I was getting a lot of snaps," Stenberg said. "Coach kind of told me that early in the week -- 'Hey, you're going to go in. You're going to play a little bit.'

"I was prepared for it. I did what I could.

Head coach Dan Campbell had some good things to say about how Stenberg has handled himself in getting ready to play this season after spending 2020 as a spectator.

He has changed his style of play to get away from the mauler mentality.

"It's all just pass protection – keeping your head out of it," he said. "Playing with your hands and not your body. I had to learn that early on. I'm finally coming around to it."

"It's a discipline. First of all, you're going to get fined. Second of all, you're hurting the team with penalties. Nobody wants any of that. It's just knowing what helps the team."

Stenberg had no idea what was ahead of him when he arrived in Detroit last year with high hopes and expectations of playing in the NFL.

"I had no idea coming in that last year was going to happen," he said. " I came in, just strapped my boots up and was ready to go. It happened the way it did. Obviously, I didn't play very much at all.

"Honestly, it ticked me off. I think I'm a good player. I like to play. I don't play football for the money. I enjoy being out here.

"Not being able to do that for an entire year was hard. It taught me a lot."

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