Entering his third NFL season, the Detroit Lions’ T.J. Hockenson hasn’t reached the level of George Kittle as one of the league’s top tight ends. Not yet, anyway.
But, Hockenson certainly can hold his own as Kittle’s tag-team partner.
Kittle starred in a commercial posted Thursday for Kingsford Hardwood Pellets, introduced as “The People’s Tight End” and “King of the Smoke Ring” as he enters a makeshift backyard wrestling ring for some serious barbecuing.
Leading him in is Hockenson as (we’re assuming) the San Francisco 49ers star’s manager. Hockenson doesn’t have a speaking line in the nearly 1-minute spot, hyping a fictitious crowd and lugging two bags of Kingsford pellets dressed as a cowboy (thankfully, not the ones from Dallas).
Hockenson sets up his fellow Iowa product, tossing a bag from the competition for Kittle to smash with a chair.
In four seasons in the NFL, Kittle has established himself as one of of the top two or three tight ends in the game, owning a pair of 1,000-yard receiving seasons and Pro Bowl berths. He set a record for receiving yards by a tight end in 2018, finishing with 1,377 yards on 88 catches — a record broken last season by the Kansas City Chiefs’ Travis Kelce, who finished with 1,416 yards on 105 catches.
Hockenson, the No. 8 overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, earned his first Pro Bowl berth last season, finishing with 67 catches for 723 yards and six touchdowns.