Lions rookies C.J. Moore, Austin Bryant still have postseasons to celebrate

By Matt Schoch
The Detroit News

Allen Park — While their team’s season in their first year went out with a thud, a couple of Lions rookies aren’t too far removed from some serious success stories.

C.J. Moore and Austin Bryant are soon likely to get an up close and personal look at postseason football — Moore with his twin brother and Bryant with his alma mater.

The Lions' C.J. Moore (49) played in all 16 games as a rookie.

Moore, a safety who carved out a crucial special teams role after going undrafted, is headed to Houston this weekend to watch his twin brother, A.J. Moore, a safety for the Texans.

C.J. Moore was asked if seeing his brother go to the playoffs for a second time gives him a little extra motivation.

"Heck yeah,” Moore said. “This is the second year of watching him go, and I would like a taste of it for myself with this team. Of course that’s extra motivation.”

Moore played in every game this season and played 61 defensive snaps during a midseason, three-game stretch. He made seven tackles on special teams after he spent five years at Ole Miss. Similarly, A.J. plays primarily special teams for the Texans (10-6), who will play host to Buffalo (10-6) in Saturday afternoon’s NFL playoff opener.

C.J. Moore said he’s anxious to hunt deer in Mississippi, and train alongside A.J. and another NFL player from his hometown, Cornell Armstrong, this offseason in Houston.

"I’m ready to get back to Mississippi, get in the woods, get some deer meat and stuff like that,” Moore said. “I think the most shocking thing when I first got here was how everybody was so mentally smart. Yeah, it’s tough physically, but you’ve got to be mentally prepared to go. Rookie mini-camp, OTAs, training camp, regular season, you’ve got to be mentally ready for that."

Bryant also had to deal with the harsh physical realities of football, as a pectoral injury took away much of his rookie year.

An injury to the same body part hampered his senior year at Clemson, but he played through it and helped the Tigers to the national championship. The Lions then selected him in the fourth round.

Coach Dabo Swinney and Clemson are back in the College Football Playoff final after a thrilling 29-23 win against Ohio State on Saturday.

"Big fun, big fun getting to watch that,” said Bryant, who is planning on attending the Jan. 13 final against LSU in New Orleans. “I’m really proud of those guys for how they handled adversity. Just fun to see my alma mater out there winning games.”

Bryant made eight tackles in four losses for the Lions, and said a healthy offseason will give him a good start to Year 2.

"It’s nice to go into the offseason with a lot to work for, a lot to get better at, a lot to improve,” Bryant said. “It’s just having the opportunity to get better and help this team, help this city win games.”

Matt Schoch is a freelance writer.