Detroit Lions first round selection T.J. Hockenson already has lofty expectations being put on him.
But to add to it, Hockenson will be donning #88, the same number worn by the best tight end in team history – Charlie Sanders. Some might find that daunting, but Hockenson is embracing it.
“It’s an incredible honor,” said Hockenson, who asked for the jersey number. “Charlie Sanders was a great player here and just looking back and him being a Hall of Famer and doing a lot for this community, a lot for this team, for this organization, it’s a special number.”
In 10 years for the Lions, Sanders was named a Pro-Bowler seven times and retired in 1977 as the Lions’ all-time leader with 336 receptions for 4,817 yards and 31 touchdowns.
“It’s a big honor for me to be able to wear that number and just to be able to carry on his legacy,” Hockenson said. “It really means a ton.”
Hockenson won’t be the first Lions player since Sanders to wear #88. Scotty Anderson and Reggie Swinton as well as Mike Williams donned it, but Hockenson aims to have a better time wearing the Honolulu blue than they did.