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‘Hard Knocks’ Episode Features Jason Cabinda’s Raiders Journey

Former Penn State linebacker Jason Cabinda made his HBO debut Tuesday night, earning significant screen time in the channel’s long-running series “Hard Knocks.”

Since the show’s inception in 2001, “Hard Knocks” has followed an NFL team through training camp and given documentary-style insight to fans on what regular-season preparation looks like. In the show’s 14th season, HBO chose to follow the Oakland Raiders through summer training.

Cabinda first appeared in the episode FaceTiming his mother, Natalie, telling her he got her tickets for the Raiders’ preseason game against the Packers. The game was played at the home field of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in Manitoba, Canada.

Cameras continued to follow the Nittany Lion out to practice, discussing his Cameroonian descent on his mother’s side and his unusual path to an NFL roster. He signed with Oakland as an undrafted free agent in April of 2018 and was waived to the practice roster just before the season began. But after several weeks, Cabinda was promoted to the active roster in October.

Later in the episode, the young linebacker reunited with his mother at the team hotel in Winnipeg. After touring the city with his mom, Cabinda went on to play a big part in Oakland’s 22-21 victory over the Packers. After a tough start to the game, he finished tied for second on the team with four tackles and another assisted.

Thanks to the fact that he was mic’d up throughout out the game, fans could hear and see some of the Nittany Lion’s leadership qualities from the linebacker position that they grew so used to seeing during his time in Happy Valley.

Cabinda’s mother may have stolen a bit of his thunder though, as she was seen throughout the game giving her own analysis on her son’s play.

“He’s always around the ball,” she said while watching her son make several big defensive stops from the stands.

Cabinda was a dominant force on the defensive side of the ball throughout his career at Penn State. He has the ninth-most tackles in Penn State history with 286, and he recorded 100 of them during his sophomore season in 2015. He plays alongside LBU alum Koa Farmer in Oakland, who also signed as an undrafted free agent last April.

This was HBO’s fourth episode of Hard Knocks this season. It can be watched now on all of the channel’s streaming platforms, including HBO GO and HBO NOW.

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About the Author

Will Pegler

Will is a junior majoring in digital and print journalism and is Onward State's sports editor. He is from Darien, Connecticut and is a lifelong Penn State football fan. He loves a good 80's comedy movie, The Office, and the New York Yankees and Giants. You can catch some of his ridiculous sports takes on his Twitter @gritdude and yell at him on his email [email protected]

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