Former Detroit Lions tight end T.J. Hockenson sheds some light on what happened when he was traded to the Minnesota Vikings, and how what he was told wasn’t completely the truth.
One of the more surprising trades that went down ahead of this year’s NFL trade deadline was T.J. Hockenson getting dealt to the Minnesota Vikings.
Not only is Hockenson a Pro Bowl player, but he was traded within the division — something that raised eyebrows across the league.
It’s rare that a player of Hockenson’s caliber is traded and even rarer that he’s handed over to a team that his old one will have to compete with. Detroit ended up being alright, winning eight of its last ten games to finish the season in second place in the NFC North.
Oh yeah, there was also that business of keeping the Green Bay Packers out of the playoffs and potentially ending Aaron Rodgers’ tenure with the team.
Losing Hockenson still hurt, though, and the feeling appears to be mutual. While Hockenson is happy with his new team in Minnesota — and hopes to remain there for a long time — he hasn’t forgotten about the Lions.
More specifically, he hasn’t forgotten about his final days there and what it was like to be traded.
Hockenson wasn’t totally blindsided by the trade, as he told Stacking The Box that he could sense something might be happening in the days leading up to the deadline.
“You don’t ever really expect that. I had an understanding that it might be coming, but I wasn’t 100 percent sure,” Hockenson said. “The way the season was going, and we only had one win when I was leaving, I kind of had a feeling it was going to happen.”
That being said, there was some element of shock to hearing the news, and it stemmed from potentially false assurances he was given. Hockenson didn’t outright call the Lions out for trading him, but he noted that he was seemingly assured that a deal wasn’t going to happen before it ultimately did.
“I talked to my guys there, coaches that I loved and respected, that were like ‘nah, dude don’t worry about it’, and then it ends up happening,” Hockenson said.
It’s hard to not read into the past tense Hockenson uses when referring to the Lions coaches who apparently told him he wasn’t going to be traded, although that’s reading between the lines.
Of course, speaking in the past tense about the Lions is the only way to do it. Hockenson isn’t in Detroit anymore and his coaches then aren’t his coaches now. What makes it a little heartbreaking, though, is that it sounds like Hockenson had been assured he wouldn’t be traded and he was happy with that.
Lions fans can wonder what the season would have been like if Hockenson hadn’t been traded, and he had remained in Detroit for the magical turn the season was about to take.
But the team is in good hands moving forward, and a foundation for success has been laid even if part of that meant losing a player like Hockenson in the process.
T.J. Hockenson spoke on behalf of Sleep Number.