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.”
#Lions DB C.J. Gardner-Johnson says “I’m outside” for the King-Cass Tech game. He says it’s important for kids to “see us in person to let them know it’s achievable to get to the level we’re at.”— Eric Woodyard (@E_Woodyard) September 15, 2023
Jerry Jacobs says the community support motivates them big time for the season. pic.twitter.com/WFVqERusc6
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.
Detroit (MI) high schools featured 19 players on 2023 @NFL Kickoff Weekend rosters, the most of any city.— NFL345 (@NFL345) September 15, 2023
Texas, with 187 players, produced the most players of any state, followed by Florida (178), California (173) and Georgia (150).https://t.co/ra9uyF6aZ7 pic.twitter.com/Zd5vipljdd
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.
Detroit artist BabyFace Ray was also at the Cass Tech-Detroit King rivalry game with #Lions DBs C.J. Gardner-Johnson and Jerry Jacobs. He loves the blue ski mask movement and has a custom one ready for Sunday. “That’s the type of energy we need,” he said. “We happy we got him.” pic.twitter.com/WolwOCOmxy— Eric Woodyard (@E_Woodyard) September 16, 2023
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:
- Our own Ryan Mathews answered 5 Questions for SB Nation Seahawks site Field Gulls.
- A new episode of the Detroit Lions Breakdown Podcast with Joe Kania and Erik Schlitt is up. This week, they preview the Lions’ upcoming home game against the Seahawks. You can listen to the entire audio in a web based player on their site.
- This needs no introduction:
Over the last year I have been filming the definitive movie on my life with @PrimeVideo & @AmazonStudios - The great mystery of why I walked away will be answered once and for all. Stream #ByeByeBarry on November 21st. @Lions @NFL @NFLPA @ProFootballHOF @HeismanTrophy pic.twitter.com/mrFV8K00W1— Barry Sanders (@BarrySanders) September 15, 2023
- As a reminder, the livestream link for the Barry Sanders statue unveiling is active at 5:30pm on Saturday.
- Tom Pelissero will be the NFL Gameday Morning reporter this Sunday on NFL Network for the Lions-Seahawks game.
- The Athletic’s Nick Baumgardner and Colton Pouncy posted a new episode of their podcast One of These Years previewing Sunday’s game. You can listen to the audio in a web player on Spotify.
- MLive’s Kyle Meinke and Ben Raven also posted a new mailbag podcast episode for the Dungeon of Doom. The audio for that can also be listened to in a web player on Spotify.
- According to the Tropical Smoothie Cafe sponsored Gameday Threads post by the team’s social media folks, the Detroit Lions will be wearing their usual home uniforms against the Seattle Seahawks.
- It’s 1980s Lions starting quarterback Eric Hipple’s birthday: