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VIDEO: C.J. Gardner-Johnson’s awesome, revealing media session

Lions DB C.J. Gardner-Johnson explained his rehab process, the psychological toll of his injury, and his excitement to rejoin a team on the verge of clinching the NFC North.

Syndication: Detroit Free Press Junfu Han / USA TODAY NETWORK

“I had more dark days than good days.”

That was one of the first things C.J. Gardner-Johnson said about his rehab from a torn pectoral muscle he suffered in the Detroit Lions’ Week 2 matchup against the Seattle Seahawks. Gardner-Johnson would somehow finish the game with that injury, but he’s been on injured reserve since then.

Doctors originally told him it was a six-month recovery from that injury, leading him to believe there would be little to no chance of him playing again this season. But here we are, three-and-a-half months later, and Gardner-Johnson returned to the practice field Wednesday—on the same day he turned 26, just as he promised three weeks ago.

Gardner-Johnson credits a good diet, two-a-days, and God for his quick recovery. But as he alluded to, the journey back wasn’t psychologically easy. Watching his team succeed from afar helped a bit.

“I’m by myself, shit. What do you think?” Gardner-Johnson explained. “I’m an athlete. Everybody thinks everything is supposed to be fine and dandy, but, shit, you take football away, what are you going to do? It’s our life. Just being around the atmosphere and seeing our guys happy and winning, it makes me happy.”

Gardner-Johnson has been around winning teams before, be it the back-to-back 12-win New Orleans Saints teams at the start of his career, or the NFC Champion Philadelphia Eagles last season. But having the opportunity to help this Lions franchise win their first divisional title in 30 years still makes him emotional.

“I might cry. I might cry,” Gardner-Johnson said. “You think about it, a lot of you guys—I don’t want to speak for everybody—but a lot of them haven’t experience a conference (sic) championship. So this is a step to feel like a winner. If you haven’t won anything—this is my fifth year. I’ve done won four divisions. Not to throw it in nobody’s face, but that’s the best feeling.”

Gardner-Johnson reportedly went for about 20 minutes with the media. You can watch eight minutes of it via the Lions YouTube page below:

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