The five most absurd things that happened on the second episode of ‘Hard Knocks’


Ra’Shede Hageman of the Atlanta Falcons pushes past Brett Brackett of the Miami Dolphins in the fourth quarter of a preseason game at the Georgia Dome on August 8. (Scott Cunningham/Getty Images)

“Hard Knocks” isn’t just a show about football. It’s a show about life’s greatest lessons — strength, love, honor and whale sharks. At least it was this week when a few players ventured to the Georgia Aquarium and swam with the fishes. Literally.

Yes, we got a sneak peek of the team-building activity from rookie defensive end Ra’Shede Hageman on Twitter, but got to see the hilarious fiasco play out Tuesday night when HBO aired the second episode in the five-part docuseries. Rookie linebacker Marquis Spruill, who unfortunately later tore his ACL in team practice, joined Hageman, and we learn the whale shark’s size really made an impression on him. HBO’s mics catch Spruill talking to fourth-round draft pick Devonta Freeman the next day:

“Whale sharks… get to be up to the size of a school bus,” Spruill says to Freeman.

“What?” Freeman asks.

“The whale shark.”

“Hell no.”

“I swear!”

“So the baby comes out the size of you,” Freeman quips.

“There were babies and they were like the size of an SUV,” Spruill answers rather seriously.

“Damn.”

It is Shark Week, after all!

Other things we learned from Tuesday’s program:

Ricardo Allen’s groin injury earned him the rather unfortunate nickname. “Everyone’s been calling me big balls,” he told the camera. Maybe it was just because he was brave. After he the segment during which he explained his injury in way-too-much detail, the camera cut to him zip-lining in an outfit fit for a 90-year-old Florida retiree.

Tyler Starr looks like WWE start Brock Lesnar with long hair and a funny hat, and also his kid is a football genius. When Starr was took to the field in the preseason game against Miami and flubbed, his toddler son called it like he saw it in the stands. “He didn’t catch the ball! He didn’t tackle!” he pouted. HBO’s cameras then cut to the linebackers coach who basically said the same thing.

Ra’shede Hageman knows WAY too much about women’s yoga-wear brand Lululemon. One might not think female fashion would be a hot conversation topic in a football team’s locker room, but not ever football team has Hageman, an apparent fan of women in Lululemon, on it.

“You don’t know about Lululemon yoga pants?” he stammers out to the rest of his team. “Are you serious? Are you serious? You don’t know Lululemon?!” he asked the locker room, which while everyone starts laughing at him. “Not knowing what Lululemon is, is like not knowing what Victoria Secret is,” he continued. “C’mon, bro, you see it on campus with some Uggs all the time.”

And Falcons General Manager Thomas Dimitroff loves Lance Armstrong. He doesn’t care what you think.

(Relax, it’s a joke.)

Marissa Payne writes for The Early Lead, a fast-breaking sports blog, where she focuses on what she calls the “cultural anthropological” side of sports, aka “mostly the fun stuff.” She is also an avid WWE fan.
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