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Dan Campbell: When we call T.J. Hockenson’s number, we know he’s going to win

Eric Bieniemy admitted frustration over being consistently passed over for head coaching jobs, but while Mike Florio and Peter King think he's more than deserving, they also want to see the league cast a wider net.

There are several young, exciting tight ends around the league and the Lions have one in T.J. Hockenson.

After a Pro Bowl season in 2020 with 67 receptions for 723 yards and six touchdowns, he caught 61 passes for 583 yards with four scores in 12 games last year — missing the end of the season due to a thumb injury that required surgery.

On Thursday, Detroit head coach Dan Campbell expressed that the team has total confidence in Hockenson and his ability to produce in critical situations.

“I look at it as, what do we ask him to do and can he win? When we ask him to win, can he win?” Campbell said in his press conference. “Because I think sometimes when you start thinking about [Travis] Kelce and [Darren] Waller, Kyle Pitts — for a long time, some of those guys are the showcase guy. And I think what we want is, we want T.J. to go out and win and do what he does. Third down, criticals, when you need it, when your time’s called because we’ve got [Amon-Ra] St. Brown, we’ve got [D.J.] Chark, [Jameson] Williams will come along, we’ve got [Josh] Reynolds, we’ve got [D’Andre] Swift.

“And so, man, he’s a piece of the puzzle. And when his number’s called, we know he’s going to win and that’s a comforting feeling.”

Having completed his third year in the league, Hockenson is eligible for a new deal. But as a former first-round pick, the Lions have him under contract through 2023 after exercising his fifth-year option.

Hockenson has 160 career receptions for 1,673 yards with 12 touchdowns.