Culture / Sporting Life

CeeDee Lamb Proves He’s More Than a Hard Knocks Star With Love For Cowboy Greats Past, Candle Magic and Mad Michael Irvin Praise

Everyone's Favorite Breakout Candidate Dominates Training Camp With True Flair — and Substance

BY // 08.18.21

It is hard to keep your eyes off CeeDee Lamb. Whether he’s swooning over candles, making audacious one-handed catches that both seemingly defy the laws of physics and threaten to bust Ezekiel Elliott’s brain, or giving homage to the Dallas Cowboys’ great No. 88s, Lamb demands your attention. Effortlessly.

CeeDee Lamb dominating an episode of HBO’s Hard Knocks is even an easier summer bet than a Marvel movie winning the box office. Or a Karen standing up at a school board meeting to loudly spew mask conspiracy theories.

No matter what, it was happening. CeeDee Lamb is made for Hard Knocks, but this wideout is anything but a Hard Knocks creation. This carefully packed (and featured teams approved) NFL reality show has a way of making the mundane seem earth shattering, often playing up minor characters into much more than they are. And while this edition of Hard Knocks may fool you into thinking that third string quarterback Ben DiNucci is important — or a good chess player — there is no smoke and mirrors (or Beth Harmon tomfoolery) going on with CeeDee Lamb.

Lamb is a legitimate star in training. The second year wideout is poised to become a force for America’s Most Popular and Hated Football team. He has not needed the Hard Knocks spotlight to show that in this training camp.

But he’ll make the most of it all the same.

“I’m high on smells,” Lamb enthuses after showing off an impressively large pink candle in his room.

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Cowboys Hall of Famer Michael Irvin has clearly caught a whiff of greatness from Lamb. In the most compelling sequence in the second episode of Hard Knocks, The Playermaker gushes over Lamb in a video call with Cowboys owner Jerry Jones.

“Oh my God, this CeeDee Lamb has been a terror on the football field,” Irvin says to Jones’ obvious delight.

Jerry talks about how much stronger Lamb has gotten in the offseason (and does not eat anything else on camera). Lamb’s appreciation for Cowboys history — and his potential future place in it — is even more striking.

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In reeling off the names of the other great Cowboy receivers who have worn No. 88 (Irvin, Drew Pearson and Dez Bryant), the 22-year-old Lamb proves that understands what playing for the NFL’s most famous franchise truly means.

It is heady stuff. And as powerful as catnip to Cowboy fans.

Lamb also shows an appreciation for current greatness. “That man 99,” Lamb raves over Aaron Donald, the Rams’ all-universe defensive tackle, during a joint practice. “That man is a monster. A monster.”

When it comes to the Rams defensive backs, Lamb is not nearly as impressed. “Smooth sailing,” he shoots back when a teammate asks on the sidelines how the competition is going. “Smooth sailing.”

CeeDee Lamb’s Breakout Moment?

Yes, it’s good to be CeeDee Lamb. With Dak Prescott back healthy (presumably by the primetime regular season September 9 Thursday night opener against the defending Super Bowl champions Bucs), Lamb is poised to enjoy the type of breakout season that changes fortunes.

Lamb was a steal on that 2020 draft night, plucked with Jerry Jones running the war room from his mega yacht. The former Oklahoma standout seems to be thanking his lucky stars he ended up in Dallas, too.

Cowboys Hall of Famer Michael Irvin has clearly caught a whiff of greatness from Lamb. In a compelling sequence, The Playermaker gushes over Lamb in a video call with Cowboys owner Jerry Jones.

This second year player already appreciates Cowboys history and the franchise’s place in the game. Even if his head coach seems a little cloudy on that.

“We’re a popular team,” Mike McCarthy says  early in the episode in one of those forced tough guy coach’s speeches that don’t play nearly as well on TV as coaches think they do. “We’re not in it to be popular.”

Has McCarthy met Jerry Jones?

Jones and CeeDee Lamb both know that being popular brings plenty of benefits. Lamb is already making a name for himself. In all the right ways. This is an audacious future star with enough substance to last.

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