clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Derrick Barnes paying it forward to Boys & Girls Club after his own inspiring story

Derrick Barnes’ life was changed forever by the Boys and Girls Club. Now Barnes is hoping to pass that inspiration along to the new generation of children.

If you buy something from an SB Nation link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics statement.

Detroit Lions v Chicago Bears Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images

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.

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.

Pride of Detroit Direct

Sign up now for a 7-day free trial of Pride of Detroit Direct, with exclusive updates from Jeremy Reisman on the ground at Allen Park, instant reactions after each game, and in-depth Lions analysis from film expert Jon Ledyard.