Lions rookie quarterback Hendon Hooker reacts to first practice just as expected

After his first true NFL practice, Lions rookie quarterback Hendon Hooker reacted about as you would expect.

Junfu Han / USA TODAY NETWORK
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Dan Campbell pointed to it on Monday, and on Wednesday it happened. Lions rookie quarterback Hendon Hooker practiced, his first real NFL practice as he has been on the NFI list working his way back from a torn ACL a little over a year ago. The 21-day window to put him on the 53-man roster is now open.

Reporters did not see Hooker throw during the portion of Wednesday's practice open to the media, but he did throw. Via the team website, he acknowledged that simply throwing in pads was something he hadn't done since being injured.

"It's been a year since I put on shoulder pads," Hooker said. "So, throwing with my shoulder pads I have to get accustomed to again."

Being able to practice is a notable ramp up for Hooker, and a notable ramp up in the Lions' coaches being able to coach him. He worked in shotgun-heavy, spread-heavy offenses in college at Virginia Tech and Tennessee, so working under center is a fresh thing for him.

"Just taking it day-by-day. Continuing to build my legs and continuing to build my mental in a positive direction to get back to a better me," Hooker explained. "And then, now that I'm here actually being able to go through practice and run through the plays and get under center and actually take some snaps, which has been a little bit foreign since I've been playing shotgun the past six years."

Hendon Hooker has perfect punchline to sum up return to practicing football

Hooker said he was too excited to sleep much on Tuesday night. He also acknowledged the helpful presence of No. 2 quarterback Teddy Bridgewater and assistant quarterbacks coach J.T. Barrett, who have both been through the recovery process from a significant injury.

Hooker had all the expected sentiment about sheerly being back on the practice field doing football things and getting better each day.

"Just want to get better every day one percent," Hooker said of his expectations for the next three weeks. "Continue to stay in my playbook, continue to ask questions and get better. It was fun just to get out there and run through the plays communicate with the guys and just ask them what they are seeing on the field.

Then, Hooker moved away from the cliches to land a nice punch line about his return to practice.

"It just feels good to be a baller again."

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