Against the odds, Detroit Lions tight end Sam LaPorta played in the Wild Card Round against the Los Angeles Rams and played pretty much his normal role (80 percent snap share).
Head coach Dan Campbell gave credit to LaPorta's toughness, and the "voodoo magic" the Lions' training staff did to get the rookie tight end ready to play with a hyperextended knee and a bone bruise. It's fair to say LaPorta is over the hump, with the worst of the injury behind him, but he won't be completely healthy until the season is over.
LaPorta has drawn, and been worthy of, all the praise he has gotten since he arrived in Allen Park for rookie minicamp last May. He had a record-setting rookie season, and a former tight end like Campbell has certainly helped him make a quick transition to the pros.
But for all the praise and accolades LaPorta has been worthy of all season, he's of course not exempt from criticism or critique when he isn't up to the task.
Sam LaPorta reveals moment that drew Dan Campbell's ire
LaPorta was on the "Rich Eisen Show" on Wednesday, to talk Lions. Eisen asked LaPorta for his favorite Dan Campbell story. It was a recent one, apparently from the game against the Rams.
"I’ll give you a good one from the other night. One of the defensive ends had a rep on me. It wasn’t my best stuff, it was okay," LaPorta said. "He shed the block and made the play. The first person I see, of course, is coach Campbell on the sideline. His face is cherry red and he’s yelling at me. ‘LaPorta, you’re better than that. You’re better than that.’ And I’m like, I need to be better than that or coach is gonna rip my butt off this field right now.”
"I could’ve been on the other side of the field and I would’ve his picked his voice out yelling at me."
Check out LaPorta's whole interview with Eisen below.
LaPorta embraced the critique from his head coach, as expected. Among Campbell stories he and his teammates have, being yelled at for a missed block is certainly a cleaner, less interesting one.