3 Biggest Lions Training Camp Fan Favorites

Vito Chirco

Sports fans will always have their favorite players that are unheralded individuals.

These are the athletes that exemplify the underdog stories that fans love to get behind and root on. 

NFL fans are no different.

Every single training camp, a player or two emerge that come out of nowhere and take a fanbase by storm. 

They instantly become fan favorites, although they might never suit up as part of the 53-man roster or contribute in a significant manner once they do make the team.

And no matter how much they produce or don't produce on the playing field, they end up being remembered for years to come. 

Without further ado, here are the three biggest training camp fan favorites for Lions fans from over the years. 

TE Joseph Fauria 

He had the dance moves, and most importantly, was a big-bodied touchdown target for Matthew Stafford during his years in the Motor City (2013-14).

He captivated Detroit fans with his fun-loving nature, and despite only suiting up for 23 total games in Honolulu Blue, made himself a player that won't soon be forgotten.

Fauria, an undrafted free agent out of UCLA, amassed eight TD receptions during his time with the Lions. 

RB Zach Zenner 

Zenner was the definition of an unheralded player, coming out of South Dakota State. 

Fans easily gravitated toward him, and for four years (2015-18), he donned a Lions uniform. 

His biggest season came in 2016 when he rushed 88 times for 334 yards and four touchdowns, to go along with another 196 yards as a pass catcher. 

His four rushing TDs led Detroit, while his 334 rushing yards were the second-highest mark on the team (trailed Theo Riddick's 357).

WR Jace Billingsley

Another small-school product (played at East Oregon) that Detroit fans got behind and wanted to see succeed.

At 5-foot-9 and 189 pounds, he had supporters that thought he could become the next great NFL slot receiver and maybe be as productive as now Lions receiver Danny Amendola. 

However, that never materialized. 

He played a grand total of two regular season games -- all with the Lions in 2017 -- and he never recorded a single catch. 

At this point, he's more well-known for being a singer/songwriter that released a single late last year which clearly took a shot at Detroit general manager Bob Quinn and team president Rod Wood. 

Specifically, he says he doesn't "belong to those soft, uptown boys." And when that line is fired off by Billingsley in the music video for the song, a black bar pops up over the eyes of Quinn and Wood, and clown noses appear on each of their faces.

I think it's fair to say he won't be invited back to Ford Field by the organization anytime soon. 


SI Lions Roundtable: Which Lions Starter Should Be Most Worried about Losing Their Job?

Austin Bryant Placed on PUP List

First Look: Detroit Lions Media Day

Poll: Should Matthew Stafford Opt-Out of 2020 NFL Season?

Matthew Stafford Placed on Reserve/COVID-19 List

Register today for free or log in to access this premium article.
Comments (2)
No. 1-2

I never understood why the fans loved Zenner so much! They loved runners who got 3 yards haha


Joseph Fauria’s dances were utterly hilarious