Detroit Lions defensive lineman Da’Shawn Hand is enhancing his mental and physical healthy ahead of the 2021 season.
For defensive end Da’Shawn Hand, the 2021 NFL season represents a new opportunity to prove he can stay healthy and produce for the organization that drafted him in the fourth round of the 2018 NFL Draft.
“When you work so hard to try to stay healthy and things just don’t go your way, you just got to get back up. I’ve been blessed to keep having an opportunity to come back,” Hand told reporters on Monday.
Back in 2018, Hand’s rookie season in the NFL, he secured 27 tackles and three sacks in 13 games. He finished tied with Derwin James as the highest-ranked defensive rookie in the league, according to PFF.
However, the past two seasons have seen a significant dip in his production, largely due to injuries. Hand has only recorded two tackles for loss, and has missed several games (19) due to various injuries the past 24 months.
“When I flipped on the tape and when he’s healthy, he’s something. I think he’s something teams are going to have to deal with,” defensive line coach Todd Wash told reporters this offseason. “That’s my job, is to get him to be able to stay healthy, get him prepared physically and athletically. He has a chance to be a special player in this league. We just got to keep him healthy.”
The 25-year-old defensive lineman is hoping playing around 290 pounds will allow him to be more stout at the point of attack. Hand explained on Monday that he lost too much weight last year in order to be effective playing along both the inside and outside of the line.
This offseason, he has gained approximately 20 pounds. His playing weight is back at around 290 pounds, after the coaches challenged him to be more stout playing on the line.”They believe in me. I’ve been doing things the right way,” he said. “So things have just paid off. That’s why I’m still here. And I just want my talents to show and I want to stay healthy. I want to show y’all that I can really do this. I could be a bona fide player in this league.”
Hand commented further, “It’s frustrating because as a player, you want to be great consistently. You don’t ever want to go into a game and get no tackles, no production. … I think this year I’m just clear-headed. I’m not thinking about anything. I’m not thinking about the past. I’m actually reading a new book called “Mindfulness”, and it’s teaching me to just stay in the moment. So I’m just stacking days and enjoying the process. And like I said, I just want a ball. I want to be a bona fide player in this league.”