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Inside the life of T.J. Hockenson: Once he puts his mind to it, 'lights out'

T.J. Hockenson reacts to being picked by the Lions, and explains why he wore Lion King socks to the draft in Nashville, Tenn. on April 25, 2019. Chris Thomas, Detroit Free Press

Kirk Ferentz calls it “the curse of being the younger brother,” but for new Detroit Lions tight end T.J. Hockenson, it turned out to be quite the blessing.

Long before he was a football star and the Lions’ newest first-round draft pick, Hockenson was the youngest of three sports-minded brothers growing up on a patch of property in Cherokee, Iowa.

In his never-ending quest to keep up with boys 11 and 15 years his senior, Hockenson almost always had a ball in his hand.