(WXYZ) — During his Walter Payton Man of the Year acceptance speech Thursday night, Los Angeles Rams offensive tackle Andrew Whitworth told a personal story about Detroit Lions linebacker Derrick Barnes.
Whitworth said Barnes approached him following the Rams' Week 7 win over the Lions.
"I saw him sprinting over and I didn't know what was going on," said Whitworth. "Like we'd known each other forever."
Whitworth acknowledged he didn't recognize Barnes right away and joked that he'd been playing long enough it could be the son of a former coach or teammate.
"He said, 'hey man, you're not going to remember me. I'm Derrick Barnes. You spent time with me when you were a young player in Cincinnati at the Boys and Girls Club, and it meant the world to me. You'd just sit with me and talk with me about life, and I was just a little kid. I want you to know how much that meant to me. And the main thing I wanted to say is that I made it. I made it to the NFL, Big Whit.'"
Detroit selected Barnes in the fourth round of the 2021 NFL Draft.