ALLEN PARK, Mich. (WXYZ) - Lions tight end Brandon Pettigrew, a 2009 first round draft pick out of Oklahoma State University, knows the organization and fans have big expectations for him this season.
"I have had my chances down the field, and I haven't always made that big play," said Pettigrew. "I think for me that is what's going to separate me and make me that big-time player."
Pettigrew, who ranks first and second in team history for receptions and receiving yards by a tight end in a season, describes himself as "an extension of the run game."
"When the run game isn't going too well, I'm usually filling that void and getting that 5-yard pass," said Pettigrew.
Former Lions tight end Charlie Sanders, who was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2007, feels Pettigrew is the best tight end in the NFL.
"I think a lot of people don't look at the overall responsibilities of a tight end," said Sanders. "They just want to look at the receptions, and say that dictates superiority at that position."
Pettigrew said he's excited that the Lions were finally able to practice in pads for the first time on Tuesday, especially with 1,500 fans watching every move.
"That's always a good feeling, just to feel that energy of the fans out there rooting for you [while you're] making that big catch, or somebody getting that big hit and just hearing that, 'ooh' [from fans] just kind of runs through you and gets your energy up more."
The Lions are off on Wednesday, but resume training camp in Allen Park Thursday morning at 9:15 a.m.
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