You hear it all the time with NFL players trying to earn a roster spot — “I’ll do whatever the coaches ask of me.” But some asks are bigger than others, like when they tell you you’re moving from linebacker to fullback.
This isn’t the first time this has happened in Detroit. In a jam a few years ago, the Lions had veteran Nick Bellore make that switch. And all things considered, it went pretty well. So why not try it again?
Enter Jason Cabinda.
Cabinda played linebacker at Penn State University, a school with a reputation for producing talent at the position. After going undrafted in 2018, he spent his first year with the Oakland Raiders before joining Detroit’s practice squad last August.
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The Lions tinkered with using him at fullback late last season, when starting fullback Nick Bawden was injured. With Bawden banged up in training camp this year, the team further embraced the experiment.
“In terms of the conversation, I’ve always been a team-first kind of guy,” Cabinda said. “Whatever the team needs. That’s kind of the type of dude I’ve always been, just be in position to be ready wherever they try to put me. Nothing is necessarily set in stone. I could be playing offense, I could be playing defense, but I’m really just in a position wherever I’m needed; that’s what I’ll do. I just want to win.”
He’s right, nothing is set in stone, including the idea Bawden will be able to keep the job. Cabinda has looked natural making the transition. Maybe because it’s not entirely foreign, given he played running back in high school.
“Back when I did play on offense in high school, I really didn’t honestly play much defense,” he said. “That really was kind of my natural position. It feels more natural than I thought it would. Being back in the backfield and playing offense again. It’s fun. Offense is fun. It’s fun to score touchdowns. It’s fun to make plays. It’s fun to have the ball in your hands. I’m excited. Whatever touches I get, I’m going to make the most out of them. That’s all I know.”