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Rookie Jack Conklin to Face Childhood Team Sunday

Posted Sep 15, 2016

Sunday will be special for Titans rookie Jack Conklin, a Lions fan as a kid.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Most kids pick out a quarterback, a running back or a receiver as their favorite player. Some go with a playmaker on defense.
Growing up in Plainwell, Mich., as a fan of the Detroit Lions, Conklin’s favorite player was a fullback.
“Cory Schlesinger,’’ Conklin said of the hard-nosed Lion, who spent his entire 12-year career in Detroit (1995-2006), and made a habit of breaking his own facemasks with contact. “I played fullback growing up, so I always loved him. He was one of those tough guys going in there hitting people. I loved the way he played the game.”
Conklin, selected eighth overall by the Titans in the 2016 NFL Draft, returns to Michigan on Sunday when the Titans face the Lions at Ford Field.
Conklin became an All-America performer as a tackle at Michigan State, roughly 1 ½ hours from Detroit. His hometown is roughly 2 ½ hours away.
“I grew up a Lions fans,” Conklin said. “I went to a couple of games at Ford Field, and it will be cool going back. And having Michigan State about 1 ½ hours from Detroit, you’ll have the Spartans fan base. So it will be fun to come home and play in Detroit and have all those people I grew up around in Michigan.
“I’m an offensive lineman, so I don’t get noticed or yelled at too often. A lot of them won’t know I’m there. But growing up a Lions fans, and going to Ford Field, and now to be able to go back and play against them, it’s going to be fun.”
Conklin played well in his first NFL game last week against the Vikings.
Pro Football Focus had Conklin as the 3rd highest graded player on offense for Titans, with a 75.5 grade. Conklin had the highest pass block grade among the team's linemen.
“Obviously it didn’t go the way we wanted it to as a team,’’ Conklin said of the 25-16 loss to the Vikings. “But for the first game I felt like I went out there and held my own. And now I really know what a real game goes like, what I have to do. After going through the whole week I know how to prepare and all that.”
Conklin said the intensity level stood out to him shifting from the preseason to the regular season.
But he said he felt comfortable.
He’s determined to keep a low profile while surrounded by veterans.
“Coming in as a rookie, I am at the bottom of the totem pole and I have to earn my way and show these guys I can play with them,’’ Conklin said. “I want to prove I can be a guy who can step in there and play right away and not be a liability.”