Former Lions tight end Joseph Fauria had one of the stranger stories about suffering an off-field injury when he claimed in 2014 that he sprained his ankle running downstairs to get his dog to stop peeing on his carpet. Fauria now admits that story was a lie.
In a recently released podcast, Fauria said the ankle injury, which would eventually land him on injured reserve when he aggravated it in a game, was caused playing volleyball.
“This is my first time ever publicly telling this story,” Fauria said. “Week Three of my second season in the NFL, we had Tuesday off. . . . Tuesday there was volleyball night at the nearby park gym.”
Fauria explained that he decided to play volleyball with some neighbors, ended up taking it too seriously, and hurt himself.
“When I come down, I come down on my left ankle. The most amazing, shocking pain that I’ve ever felt in my entire life shoots up my leg, and immediately I’m like, ‘Career’s over,'” Fauria said. “That’s how much it hurt.”
As it turned out, the injury was not career-ending, but it did cause him to miss some time. Fauria said he heard that an off-field injury playing another sport would cause the Lions not to pay him, and so he lied about what really caused it.
“They told me that if the team, the organization, the Lions found out I was playing volleyball and I got hurt playing volleyball, that they could exercise the option of not paying me,” Fauria said. “Did I want to lie to my head coach? No, but I was thinking about myself.”
As an undrafted rookie in 2013, Fauria scored seven touchdowns for the Lions. But he scored just one touchdown in his injury-plagued 2014 season, and he never played a down in the NFL again.
Fauria said he did tell one Lions teammate the truth: Sam Martin, who was then and still is the Lions’ punter. It probably won’t endear Martin to the Lions’ organization that he stayed silent while Fauria lied to the team. It also probably won’t do much to make people believe Martin’s story that his own injury last season came in a conch shell accident.