Titans’ RB, Sandy Hook family make connection
Posted: Friday, December 21, 2012 7:00 pm
By TERESA M. WALKER
AP Sports Writer
NASHVILLE (AP) — Chris Johnson first wrote the names of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting victims on his cleats. Now the Titans running back has sent gifts to the family of Grace McDonnell after speaking with them by telephone.
He had the names on his cleats for Monday night’s game against the New York Jets, and he scored on a franchise-record 94-yard touchdown run. The family reached out to Johnson through the Titans, and the running back spoke Tuesday with the McDonnells and Grace’s older brother, Jack.
“You get a whole sense of it and just him and the kids … that he was trying to be strong, but it’s a situation I can tell how he feels,” Johnson said Thursday after practice. “I lost my grandmother earlier in this year and just knowing how that feels I just kind of wanted to do something to at least try to lift his spirits.”
Johnson also became a father earlier this year too with the birth of twin boys. He said that just made him appreciate his sons even more. He said he sent over a few Christmas gifts to Jack McDonnell and the family, and he also shared his telephone number in case they need anything that he might help with in the future.
The Titans running back said he still plans to auction off the shoes to help families. But he sounded reluctant Thursday as he discussed the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
“I kind of want to step back. … I kind of did it for the kids and the family. I really don’t want to make it about me,” Johnson said.
Grace Audrey McDon-nell, one of the 26 victims in the Dec. 14 shooting at Sandy Hook, was born Nov. 4, 2005.
A Mass Memorial for her was held today at St. Rose of Lima Church in Newtown.
A moment of silence was held at 8:30 this morning for the victims. In Fairfield, Conn., the bell at Old Town Hall rang out 26 times.
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Published in The Messenger 12.21.12