As NFL starts without fans, Hockenson family streak ends
There are fixtures at every football game: the players, the referees, the goalposts.
For Lions tight end T.J. Hockenson, another fixture has been his parents, Teri and Tod. They’ve been in the stands at every one of his games that he can remember, including those during his two seasons at Iowa and during his rookie season last year.
Throughout the years, the Hockensons have logged thousands of miles following their children to various games and practices.
It took a pandemic, but the streak comes to an end with Sunday’s season opener against the Chicago Bears at Ford Field.
The other fixtures will be there, but not the Hockenson family — but they’ll be close.
“They've come to every game and they're going to be here this weekend. They're coming up and they're doing their own thing, staying with the routine,” T.J. said Thursday. “They’re hoping after the fourth game that maybe (fans) can come but they're doing the same routine — they're going to come up here and hang out and kind of do the whole thing and watch the game at my house.
“It's always nice to be around family on game day; it kind of makes it feel a little more like a game. It makes it a little more family-oriented, I guess I would say. My parents have gone above and beyond what I would have ever asked of them. It's going to be definitely (different) but it’s going to be cool to have them up here.”
Hockenson, the eighth overall pick in the 2019 draft, had a shortened rookie season after suffering an ankle injury but played in 12 games. He notched 32 catches for 367 yards and two touchdowns.
He’s worked through rehab and is ready to go for the start of this season, with some of the questions about his ankle. Hockenson put those to rest Thursday, confirming that he’s at 100 percent.