The call didn’t come on draft day, but more importantly, it also didn’t come on cut day.
Lions safety C.J. Moore sat in his Detroit area hotel room Saturday and tried to stay calm while players around the league were notified of their release. His call never came.
Moore was one of three undrafted rookies to make the 53-man roster, joining defensive tackle Kevin Strong and offensive lineman Beau Benzschawel. Moore’s also the second NFL player in his family, joining twin brother A.J., who made the Houston Texans after being undrafted and then cut by New England last season.
The Moores were teammates at Ole Miss where C.J. chose to play special teams instead of redshirting as a freshman.
“I didn’t want to be left and not go on the road games. So I took that option,” Moore said. “(Special teams) just stuck with me and that’s what I wanted to do.”
Playing on all the “core four” units throughout college prepared Moore to impress Lions coaches this preseason.
“You want to see guys level up,” special teams coach John Bonamego said Monday. “In a case like a C.J. Moore, rookie camp to OTAs to training camp to preseason games, is there improvement? Can you see that?”
Moore made six combined tackles in three preseason games and made two pass defenses.
“I just want to be a great role player, be very coachable, try to work harder than anybody on the team and be consistent at that,” Moore said. “It’s not exactly easier now. It’s still a grind. It’s game week and I’m still approaching this harder than I did training camp.
“This is what really counts.”
The Lions voted on and announced seven captains for the 2019 season on Thursday.
Quarterback Matthew Stafford, offensive tackle Taylor Decker, wide receiver Danny Amendola, safety Quandre Diggs, linebackers Devon Kennard and Jarrad Davis, and long snapper Don Muhlbach will represent the team this season.
For Stafford, Davis, Kennard and Muhlbach it will be their second consecutive year as a captain.
Matt Schoch is a freelance writer.