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Notes: CJGJ and Jerry Jacobs attended local HS rivalry game, donate to both programs

C.J. Gardner-Johnson is eager to help Detroit youngsters follow in his footsteps to become NFL success stories.

Detroit Lions v Kansas City Chiefs Photo by Kevin Sabitus/Getty Images

Lions safety C.J. Gardner-Johnson and teammate Jerry Jacobs attended the rivalry game between Detroit high schools Cass Tech and Detroit King on Friday night. Wright Wilson covered the 14-7 win for Cass Tech with a full writeup in the Detroit Free Press, and The PreP Sports Media carried a full livestream of the game.

After the third quarter ended in the livestream, The PreP’s Maddie Miller spoke to Detroit Public Schools Community District Board of Education President Angelique Peterson-Mayberry. Asked about the two Lions in attendance, she was effusive in her praise and appreciation:

“Well they actually came and they did a financial donation, and I think that speaks a lot to their character. They didn’t have to do that. They could have made that donation anywhere, but yet they did it for Detroit Public Schools Community District and a check was given to both of the schools. So we’re really excited about that. And the fact that they came out! They may have seen some future Lions players out here on the field, I don’t know!”

During the Livestream, The PreP’s sideline reporter Maddy Miller interviewed Gardner-Johnson while he enjoyed a burger and the high school football action, noting he’d donated to both programs and continues to be active in promoting youth sports in the Detroit area:

Ceedy Duce gave a shout out to both schools at the battle of the city to watch “the best athletes in Detroit” on the gridiron. Miller asked the current Lions starting safety what was behind his giving to local high school football programs. To Gardner-Johnson, it’s “for the kids, (let) them have funds so we can watch them battle and just basically reach their goal.”

An early graduate from Cocoa High School in Florida, Gardner-Johnson was a multi-sport star named to numerous All-State teams. One of the best high school football players to come from the state of Florida in the 2010s, he then went on to even greater success in college football for the University of Florida and now the NFL. “Growing up where I’m from, it’s kind of similar. You just want to give them a light to show that it’s possible.”

With Detroit athletes, it’s certainly possible. The NFL Communications department reported this week that metro Detroit was the city with the most players on opening day rosters in the league, and according to The D Zone six of those players were from Cass Tech (Donovan Peoples-Jones, Jourdan Lewis, Mike Onwenu, Jalen Graham, and Del’Shawn Phillips), giving it the sixth-highest total from a single high school. Last season’s defensive rookie of the year Sauce Gardner from the New York Jets was a graduate of Detroit King.

Asked about the blue ski mask craze he’s started by The PreP’s Miller, Gardner-Johnson declared “it’s a culture change. I’m just going (over) what coach taught me. The grit, the underdogs, the villain that GM (Brad Holmes) preaches, I mean we just go out there and play football. That’s what we gotta bring, that fire. I think that’s what these young guys see.”

C.J. Gardner Johnson is enjoying being in Detroit, and certainly the Lions fanbase is ecstatic to have him here.

It’s always great to see the Lions players out in the community doing good work through giving and outreach. Best of luck to CJGJ and Jerry Jacobs to keep it rolling through the rest of the 2023 season. Now, on to the rest of your weekend Notes:

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