Friday, May 16, 2014
Ebron good with his start with Lions
By Michael Rothstein
ALLEN PARK, Mich. -- You good?
Eric Ebron heard the question and it took a second for him to reconcile it all not because of when it was happening -- as he lined up during a play earlier this week -- or what was being asked. The shock came because of who, exactly, was asking him the question.
Eric Ebron got his first real taste of life in the NFL on Friday.
"I'll be like, 'Yeah, I'm good,' " Ebron said. "But you still shaking because you're lining up beside Calvin Johnson."
And he wasn't lying -- or so Ebron says. If anything, it was more excitement and maybe a little bit of awe because, as he put it, "I was beside Calvin Johnson. In a play."
That feeling will eventually disappear for Ebron. If he is anything close to what the Lions expect out of his rookie year, he'll be doing it often throughout the next month and then in training camp and during the season. At least that's the hope for Detroit, a team that invested the No. 10 pick in the draft on the North Carolina tight end.
And on Ebron's first day of real practice after his first real week as a professional football player, Lions coach Jim Caldwell said the tight end was exactly what the team expected. During the media portion of practice, Ebron only worked on blocking and short routes. Overall, though, Caldwell appeared impressed by his first Lions draft pick.
"He's just what he's supposed to be," Caldwell said. "He's a big, athletic guy that certainly moves extremely well, covers a lot of ground and he's learning quickly.
"He's adapting and doing all the things you would anticipate he would do. Let's just put it this way, his reputation preceded him and he's living up to it."
Not bad considering Ebron called the entire first week of his Lions tenure a challenge, from learning the playbook to trying to figure out everything else attached to being a professional football player and a first-round draft pick.
He compared the amount of things he has to learn to what a quarterback might have to pick up, minus working on dropping back. Essentially, though, as he's picking things up he's still having fun with everything.
He used that word -- fun -- a few times during a five-plus minute chat Friday. And for him so far, everything has been just that, fun, even as he's learning at the same time. Part of it might be what he already sees, that there could be opportunities for everyone in this offense.
He picked that up from lining up next to Johnson.
"It's going to be incredible," Ebron said. "I'll work my way into the starting position eventually. Maybe this year, maybe next year. However it goes. Definitely getting an opportunity to play beside [Brandon] Pettigrew, Calvin, Reggie [Bush] and Golden Tate and all those guys.
"You can see how the playbook and my position can open up the voids and the areas where those guys can shine from the attention that I receive."
That's why Detroit needs Ebron to be good -- both when Johnson asks and when he actually starts to play.