ALLEN PARK — Dominic Raiola, the veteran Detroit Lions center, has found a new coffee buddy this preseason.
Giorgio Tavecchio, who is competing to earn the kicking job, has bonded with Raiola in a way most would not imagine for a offensive lineman and a kicker.
What is not surprising is there’s a competitive aspect between the two to finding the best beans.
“He’s a coffee connoisseur. He is, he really is. He brings his beans from Italy, pretty good,’’ Raiola said.
He even has Tavecchio make his coffee now and then.
“Good froth, he’s good with that,’’ Raiola said.
It’s not just coffee.
“It’s espresso. It’s shots, it’s gasoline,’’ Raiola said.
“I have a (espresso) machine here (in the equipment room), a nice one,’’ Raiola said. “He asked if he could use it. Some days I ask him if he can make me a cup.’’
It's like Raiola has his private barista.
“It’s fun, we have fun with it,’’ Raiola said. “We compete to bring in different beans or whatever.’’
Raiola said he buys a variety of beans at the Plum Market.
Tavecchio brings his from Italy.
“He’s got some custom — it’s named Italian Kickers Blend,’’ Raiola said. “I’m serious, ask him.’’
Tavecchio, 24, was born in Italy but attended high school in California before he earned his economics degree at the University of California at Berkeley. He was in training camp with the Green Bay Packers last summer
He’s competing with seventh-round pick Nate Freese who didn’t miss a field goal in his senior season at Boston College.