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Lions rookies talk about the fun of knocking an opponent out

Detroit Lions Minicamp

ALLEN PARK, MI - MAY 12: Ronnell Lewis #97 of the Detroit Lions looks on during a rookie mini camp at the Detroit Lions Headquarters and Training Facility on May 12, 2012 in Allen Park, Michigan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

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Most NFL players have learned by now that the politically correct thing to say in football is that you never want to hurt an opponent. But a couple of Lions rookies demonstrated at this weekend’s minicamp that they haven’t gotten the memo.

Ronnell Lewis and Travis Lewis aren’t related, but they were teammates at Oklahoma and were both drafted by the Lions this year, and they both have a similar attitude toward the enjoyment they get from laying a good lick on someone when they’re flying down the field on special teams. Travis Lewis says it’s a pleasure watching Ronnell hit.

“Call up his highlights on YouTube on kickoffs and you’ll know why we call him the Hammer,” Travis Lewis told Bob Wojnowski of the Detroit News. “The guy straight out flies around to the ball, and on special teams, he’ll be a demon. He’s a load and he hustles.”

Nothing wrong with that, but some eyebrows will surely be raised in the league office about the glee Travis described in seeing Ronnell knock an opponent out.

“We were playing [Texas] A&M and he knocked someone clearly out on kickoff, but the guy tried to get up. If you’ve ever seen a roach or something with its leg cut off and trying to wobble around — the guy tried to get up and fell. He tried to work his way to the huddle and he fell again. Concussions are never funny, but being on the opposite team and witnessing that, it was pretty hilarious, I’m not gonna lie,” Travis Lewis said.

Ronnell Lewis remembers the hit Travis is thinking about and also enjoyed seeing his opponent hurt.

“I believe I gave the [Texas A&M] guy a concussion,” Ronnell Lewis said. “He fell three times before he got to the sideline. It was kind of cool to see. I just want to bring that to this level, that’s the whole reason I feel I’m here. What’s the best part [of special teams]? If your opponent is still laying down on the ground.”

Those aren’t the kinds of comments the NFL wants to hear, but the reality is that most NFL players are hard-wired to relish the contact of the sport, and many of them are pleased with themselves when they hit an opponent hard enough that he has a hard time getting up. Ronnell Lewis knows the NFL is preaching safety, but he has no intention of changing.

“I’m just gonna continue doing what I’ve been doing,” he said. “I’ll learn from it, that’s all I can do. I’m not gonna let up because of some rule. I’m gonna continue to hit harder.”