Vince Wilfork's 'Hard Knocks' stardom culminated in a kicking competition.
He took on Carli Lloyd, who had a hat trick for the U.S. Women's National Soccer Team in the finals of this summer's World Cup.
Two things happened in this scene: 1) We saw Wilfork kick field goals. 2) We learned that receiver EZ Nwachukwu might be Lloyd's biggest fan on earth.
"Excuse me!" Nwachukwu says as Lloyd arrives to talk to the team. He pushes through his crowd of teammates so he can get a prime spot to watch. "Yess!!" he says when he gets it.
"We had a lot of doubters in the beginning but it's not how you start, it's how you finished," Lloyd says. "It's just an incredible run and I wish you guys all the best."
Nwachukwu pretends to faint, apparently from being so close to her. Then the kicking competition begins. Lloyd and Wilfork each makes a 25-yard field goal. Lloyd then suggests they move back and Wilfork tries to get out of it with a, "My hamstring." It doesn't work and they both make their 35-yarders. Wilfork then quickly declares he's got meetings.
Lloyd's reaction today:
As she prepares to leave the field, Nwachukwu and his fellow receivers are walking near her.
"I just wanna say hi," Nwachukwu says. "Just wanna say what's up."
But DeAndre Hopkins walks up to her first, much to Nwachukwu's chagrin, and tells her he's a big fan. Nwachukwu eventually gets some interaction.
"She scored three goals, man," he tells his teammates. "She looked me in the eye. I don't know what that means, brother, but hey. We had eye contact."
He tried again today:
Hey @CarliLloyd, I scored a Hat-trick back in the day too...probably 1st grade but still...I think we have a lot in common!— Uzoma Nwachukwu (@EazyKnowsBest) September 9, 2015
Some other highlights from today's season finale of Hard Knocks, the last of the episodes that will follow the Houston Texans.
As we know, Nwachukwu did not make the Texans roster. O'Brien tells him that he's looking for receivers who can "run the gamut" of routes, while Nwachuwku has more of a specialized skill set. This is a fundamental piece of O'Brien's view on receivers. It's why the Texans' receiving corps has undergone such a transformation since O'Brien's arrival. It's part of why former Texans receiver DeVier Posey didn't fit with this staff. He wants versatility, and it's shown very clearly at that position.
O'Brien tells Charles James II that his length deficiencies showed up in the fourth preseason game. He also tells James he'd love to have James on the practice squad because he sees a future for James with the Texans. Later James is shown discussing being released: "For me it was like, shoot man, I wanna go start a fresh start. So I'm gone. I heard a lot of questions, do I think I should have made the team? Yes. Just to answer the question, yes. It hurts. But at the same time you have to understand it's the nature of the business."
Edrena Polk, Chris Polk's mother, makes a repeat appearance when Chris calls to tell her he's made the team. "You gonna show them you deserve to be on that team," she says. "Every time you touch that ball, those are pins, you the bowling ball. And don’t go down easy like a girl." There's a touch of irony there as she's the one who toughened up her son for football. She also holds up a t-shirt that says "Bang" on each shoulder and has pictures of chicken and shrimp on the front. Bang bang chicken and shrimp, Polk's catch phrase lives on.
Kourtnei Brown's story arc in the episode has a lot of drama. He's shown struggling at the beginning of the Texans' fourth preseason game in Dallas and then he's shown recovering for a sack. It's not enough to make the team, and Brown is shown talking to general manager Rick Smith, who tells him he did well, just not well enough for this situation. Smith was a proponent of Brown's. Later in the episode, Brown is shown in Tampa, the Buccaneers claimed him off waivers, praising what he learned from Texans linebackers coach Mike Vrabel.