Morning Roar: George Johnson's pregame speech

MINNEAPOLIS -- At first, George Johnson insisted he didn't say anything before the game to the rest of the Detroit Lions defensive line.

He wasn't exactly being truthful.

Johnson did give an inspired pregame speech to his position group filled with things they mostly knew already. He spoke about his story, about how about one year and three days earlier, he had been released by the same Minnesota team the Lions would face Sunday and everything after. How NFL life moved on without him. How close he was to giving up, as he detailed in this story in September.

How joining the Lions during offseason workouts represented his last shot in the NFL.

"I just said y'all know where I was last year. You already know," Johnson said. "Y'all know my story, everything like that. I want to go out there and I want us to play hard. I want us to go out there and get after it.

"They said, we got your back. And that's exactly what we did. They went out there and they got after it."

Getting after it might be an understatement. Johnson said "it doesn't take much" to motivate this particular group of defensive linemen. On Sunday, they were dominant as a defense, recording eight sacks and breaking through the Minnesota offensive line again and again.

The motivation started with Johnson's speech and ended with the man with the Superman T-shirt underneath his No. 93 jersey earning an individual game ball for the first time in his college or professional career.

"Indeed," defensive tackle C.J. Mosley said. "The pregame speech was heartfelt. We just felt the emotion. So we gave him the game ball from the D-line after the game.

"He's all smiles, as you can see."

After Detroit's day Sunday, he had no reason not to be.

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