If you’re a die-hard Detroit Lions fan, you likely heard about the awesome story last year about rookie linebacker Derrick Barnes and long-time veteran offensive lineman Andrew Whitworth. The story was first written up by The Athletic, but Whitworth retold the story during his acceptance speech for his 2021 Walter Payton Man of the Year award win.
In short, Whitworth noticed that during the Lions vs. Rams game last year, Barnes kept staring at him, curiously. When the game was finally over, Barnes finally confronted Whitworth, letting him know that the two had actually met a long time ago. Whitworth was then with the Cincinnati Bengals and took a trip to the Boys and Girls Club to inspire some youth.
“He was always there every, like, two weeks,” Barnes told The Athletic. “I remember when I was at school I was bragging like, ‘I know an NFL player.’ My dad and I were huge on watching the Bengals play every Sunday.”
Now, Barnes is trying to provide his own inspiration and pass it forward. This week the Lions linebacker went back to the exact same Boys and Girls Club of Greater Cincinnati.
Derrick Barnes, who told that awesome story about meeting Andrew Whitworth as a child at the Boys & Girls club before eventually meeting him on the field, is now paying it forward. https://t.co/RKVOhbjMoa pic.twitter.com/URl8g64l8S— Pride of Detroit (@PrideOfDetroit) June 21, 2022
WLWT of Cincinnati has a full story on Barnes’ trip, including a video and short interview with the Lions’ linebacker.
“It’s crazy because it’s just it just takes me back to like the Whitworth thing because you know, those kids see me and like they look at me exactly how I looked at Whit like just a positive role model,” Barnes said.
Andrew Whitworth mentored a kid who wanted to play in the NFL 15 years ago. That kid was Lions LB Derrick Barnes. Now he's back at the same Boys & Girls Club inspiring the next generation. @WLWT #Bengals #Lions pic.twitter.com/2wGAqa3IRE— Brandon Saho (@BrandonSaho) June 21, 2022