Lions’ first-round picks reveal their song selections for popular rookie performance

Detroit News

Allen Park — The most memorable scene from the Detroit Lions’ appearance on the HBO series “Hard Knocks” last summer was unquestionably Aidan Hutchinson’s rookie performance, when the defensive end delivered an enthusiastic rendition of Michael Jackson’s “Billie Jean.”

It was a rare, behind-the-scenes glimpse at the playful hazing Detroit’s first-year players undergo, being asked to cast aside inhibitions and embarrassment to entertain the coaches and their veteran teammates. We also got to see linebacker Malcolm Rodriguez’s salsa dancing skills and undrafted receiver Kalil Pimpleton juggling.

Earlier in the week, Lions coach Dan Campbell offered some advice to this year’s rookies ahead of their performances.

“They have big shoes to fill from last year,” Campbell said. “I did tell those guys, ‘Just do something. If you feel like you have a talent, it may not be, but you think it’s a talent, then just do that, and stay up there even if you get booed. Just stay all the way until the very end because you probably won’t get called back up because it’s so brutal it’s like, forget this. But if you start and then you laugh and stink and you get booed, they’re just going to keep bringing you back up.’ They’ve been given that advice.”

A few days later, Detroit’s first-round picks Jahmyr Gibbs and Jack Campbell revealed they had performed, both opting to sing a song like Hutchinson last year. Gibbs chose Mario’s 2004 hit “Let Me Love You,” which came out just two years after the running back was born.

“It was good, no doubt,” Gibbs said of his performance.

Campbell, an Iowa native, opted for the country classic, “A Country Boy Can Survive,” by Hank Williams Jr.

The linebacker said his performance was well received by teammates and Gibbs gave his teammate a 10 out of 10. More than anything, Campbell was glad he didn’t have the moment captured by TV cameras for public consumption.

“(I’m) kind of a more introverted person, yeah,” Campbell said. “But you’ve just got to go through and enjoy the moment by just being yourself. Everyone has to do it, so you may as well go up there and have fun with it.”

Twitter: @Justin_Rogers

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