Detroit Lions defensive back C.J. Gardner-Johnson surprised some teammates on Friday by showing up on the sidelines. The boisterous defender suffered a torn pectoral in Week 2 that required surgery and is out for the foreseeable future, but on the sidelines, he was able to bring some energy to the Lions practice.
“He told us he was going to be here this week, but he popped up today out of the blue,” cornerback Jerry Jacobs said. “Had that loudness and that fun and all that around. It’s a great feeling. So I was happy to see him.”
Coach Dan Campbell, too, was excited to have him back in the building.
“It’s good having him back. You do forget about just what he brings in terms of his energy until you see him back out there,” Campbell said. “So it was good just to have him around. He is, he’s all energy man.”
As for whether Gardner-Johnson could return this season from injured reserve, Campbell told media on Saturday it was “hard to say.” He did note that the veteran defensive back has been rehabbing both locally and remotely.
“I know rehab is going well, he’s doing good. So it’s good to see him.”
Gardner-Johnson has been telling pretty much anyone who has been listening—be it his teammates or on Instagram Live—that he plans on returning this season.
“He just keeps saying it,” Jacobs said. “That means he really wants to come back, and he’s going to push forward to get back. Shit, if we can get him back, with good, successful surgery, I’d love to have him back.”