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5 things to know about new Lions WR DJ Chark

Learn a little more about the Lions’ new downfield threat.

NFL: Denver Broncos at Jacksonville Jaguars Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

In what was likely their “splashiest” move of the 2022 NFL offseason, the Detroit Lions signed DJ Chark to a one year, fully guaranteed $10 million contract.

Brought in to be the downfield threat the Lions were sorely missing for most of last season, Chark brings 4.3 speed and legitimate verticality to an offense many believe is on the rise. But you likely know about all of that. So with that, let’s learn some more about the Lions’ new receiver with five things to know.

  1. Darrell Chark Jr. was born in the same city where he attended high school, Alexandria, Louisiana—a city two hours northwest of Baton Rouge, where he would eventually attend college at LSU. Known for his speed all of his life, Chark has an elder sister, Shirdetra, who also ran competitive track. Chark even competed in the junior Olympics at one point. With both of his parents being former high school athletes from the same area in Louisiana, I think it’s safe to say speed runs in the Chark family.

2. During his time at LSU, Chark was awarded the No. 7 uniform, a prestigious honor considering all of the great players who have worn it through the years. Although, not everything was smooth sailing for Chark during his time in Baton Rouge. He dealt with Les Miles being fired in the middle of the 2016 season. His freshman and sophomore years at LSU were tough on him mentally, as he did not record a catch and was usually relegated to special teams duty when he did see the field. But once Chark finally got the ball in his hands, he was sure to make the most of it.

3. After a senior season in which he averaged 21.9 yards per catch(!), it was time for the Louisiana native to take the next step in his journey to fulfill a life’s dream. With his impressive physical gifts, Chark had a terrific combine, running a 4.34 40-yard dash, but it was his performance at the 2018 Senior Bowl that really vaulted him up draft boards. Chark finished the game with five receptions, 160 yards and a score on his way to being named co-MVP.

4. Chark was first diagnosed with anxiety and depression during his time in college, which led to him being prescribed anti-anxiety medication that he still takes today. Since then, he has opened up a bit more about his struggles with those aforementioned issues. As someone who has dealt with these same struggles for their entire life, I have immense respect for anyone who is willing to share their feelings and speak their mind like this. We need more mental health advocates with platforms like Chark’s.

5. Chark has a wife, Chantelle, as well as a daughter, Mackenzie Deanna Jaliyah “DJ” Chark, who was born last year. The young receiver has repeatedly said the vibe around the Lions’ building, as well as the way the entire organization made he and his family feel, were major contributing factors in his decision to come to Detroit.

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