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'Hard Knocks' Recap: Undrafted Rookies Shine, Duce Staley Loses Voice

Here are the highlights from episode No. 3 of "Hard Knocks", featuring the Detroit Lions.

The Detroit Lions are coming off their first preseason win under Dan Campbell. After starting 0-1 in 2022 and dropping all three preseason games in 2021, Campbell’s team finally closed the door, and finished with a one-point victory over the Indianapolis Colts Saturday.

That game, and the two days’ worth of joint practices leading up to it, is prominently featured in the third episode of HBO’s "Hard Knocks", which is chronicling the team’s journey throughout training camp.

Here are the highlights from the third episode, which debuted Tuesday at 10 p.m.

Behind the scenes of battles in Indianapolis

Among the moments spotlighted in the episode are David Blough’s two-minute drill that culminated with a touchdown at the first-half buzzer and the Lions’ 18-play drive late in the game that wound up producing the game-winner.

After the Lions scored to open the second half, Campbell is shown roaming the sideline and conversing with defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn.

“Alright A.G., let’s go get ‘em,” Campbell said. "I would love a (expletive) three-and-out. Or a turnover. If anybody gets a punch out here, they can fly the plane home themselves. They can literally pilot the (expletive) plane.”

Prior to the game, the Lions and Colts spent two days battling in practice. Prior to departing team headquarters, Campbell gave an impassioned speech about the importance of the practices.

“I just wanted to hit this practice (Wednesday),” Campbell said. “Man, I had this thing circled long ago, and the coaches know it and they’ve been looking forward to this, too. This is everything, man. These two days mean everything to me. So, paint your faces and start (expletive) sharpening the spears, because these two days are it. I don’t want to say it means more than the game, but it’s big. I want to know, when we come out of this, who we’re going to war with.

“I want us toeing the (expletive) line, gentlemen. I want us going and toeing the line, but I don’t want you to cross that line. I don’t want fights, man. I don’t want fights. You start an all-out brawl, you’re done, man. You’re out, and your evaluation’s over. But, I do want us (expletive) going.”

Wednesday’s practice was shown to be in favor of the Colts, as frustrations ran high on the Lions’ side. Running backs coach Duce Staley lost his voice, while running back Jamaal Williams was growing frustrated with an opponent.

Thursday, however, was a much-improved performance. The Lions had success on both sides of the ball. Jared Goff launched a touchdown to D’Andre Swift, while Aidan Hutchinson recovered a fumble on the defensive side.

Undrafted rookies take center stage

Among the players featured in the episode were undrafted rookies Obinna Eze and Kalil Pimpleton. The former, an offensive lineman, shared his story of coming to the United States and living with a foster family. He began playing football as a junior in high school, and eventually found his way to Memphis.

Eze spent four seasons at Memphis and one at TCU, before going undrafted and signing with the Lions. In the episode, he was called out by offensive line coach Hank Fraley for his effort during a drill.

Eze’s wife, Yazmeen, was also shown in the episode cheering her husband on during each of the Lions’ first two preseason games.

Pimpleton, meanwhile, is a wide receiver hailing from Muskegon, who made his mark at Central Michigan. He makes his entrance in the episode when he’s called out by Campbell to perform in front of his team.


Rather than sing or dance, the Central Michigan wideout instead wows his teammates with his juggling abilities. After initially booing because he elected not to dance, the team cheers as he tosses the ball behind his back into the air and catches it.

Pimpleton’s mother and stepfather are shown in the episode supporting him during the Colts game.

Craig Reynolds also is featured heavily in the episode. The formerly undrafted running back signed with the Lions during training camp last season, and though he was cut, eventually made his way onto the roster late in the 2021 campaign.

Reynolds’ brother, Eric, has been imprisoned since Craig was 12 years old. However, the two communicate weekly before Lions games. Craig and Eric share a video chat during the episode, during which the two have a deep conversation.

Campbell: Lions getting rid of ‘last bit of losing’

The episode begins with Campbell addressing his team following Detroit’s preseason-opening loss to the Atlanta Falcons. In that game, the Lions held the lead before surrendering a late touchdown pass on fourth-and-long that decided the contest.

The Lions' head coach spoke to the team about making the key plays in key moments, before using a pair of dirty pants to illustrate his metaphor about getting rid of the losing that has been a staple of the organization.

“In the critical moment, we controlled that game,” Campbell said. “We were in control of this game, alright? We gave it away. Which, was that them or us? That was us. You know what I’m saying? You’ve done some hard work, you’ve got dirt all over your freakin’ jeans, your warm-ups, whatever you got, and it’s just full of this stuff. To me, that’s all the (expletive) that’s been here that has kept us from winning.”

Campbell shook the sweatpants to illustrate to the team shaking off the problems of the past, reminding them that it’s important to embrace the potential of a positive future.

“That’s the last little bit we’ve gotta get over,” Campbell said. “We’re going places, men. There’s no doubt about it, man. You can already see it, I’ve got a (expletive) clear vision of where this team’s going. But, I know this, if we really want to go where we want to go, we’ve gotta get all the rest of this (expletive) (expletive) out of our stuff. All this dirt, everything that’s in our (expletive) jeans. This last bit of losing’s got to get out of here.”


  • Campbell had a nice coaching moment, as the former NFL tight end gave some wisdom to current Lions tight end Shane Zylstra.
  • A private conversation between Campbell and Staley was shown leading up to the team’s departure for Indianapolis.
  • Comedian Josh Adams performed for the team following Wednesday’s practice.