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American football safety for the Detroit Lions

Organization: National Football League (NFL)

Date of Birth: 20 December 1999

Age: 23 years old

Zodiac sign: Sagittarius

Profession: Footballer



Chauncey "C.J." Gardner-Johnson is an American football safety for the Detroit Lions of the National Football League (NFL). He played college football at Florida and was drafted by the New Orleans Saints in the fourth round of the 2019 NFL draft. He has also played for the Philadelphia Eagles.

Professional career

New Orleans Saints

Gardner-Johnson was drafted by the New Orleans Saints in the fourth round (105th overall) of the 2019 NFL Draft. In a Week 13 game against the Atlanta Falcons on Thanksgiving Day, Gardner-Johnson recorded his first career interception off a pass thrown by Matt Ryan in the 26–18 win. In Week 16 against the Tennessee Titans, Gardner-Johnson recorded eight tackles and forced a fumble on wide receiver Kalif Raymond which he recovered during the 38–28 win. In the 2019 season, Gardner-Johnson finished with 42 total tackles, one interception, eight passes defended, and one forced fumble. He was named to the PFWA All-Rookie Team.

On October 11, 2020, Gardner-Johnson was punched by teammate Michael Thomas during practice. This led to Thomas being benched for that week's game. On November 1, 2020, in a 26–23 victory over the Chicago Bears, Gardner-Johnson was sucker-punched by Bears' wide receiver Javon Wims which led to a scuffle between both teams in the third quarter. Wims ran up to an unsuspecting Gardner-Johnson, who had his back turned and punched him in the helmet. When Gardner-Johnson did not react, Wims punched him again. Earlier broadcast showed Gardner-Johnson ripping off Wims' mouthguard away from Wims. Despite Wims claiming Gardner-Johnson spit on him, no evidence supported this claim. Gardner-Johnson later denied that he spit on Wims. The incident led to Wims being ejected from the game and suspended for two games by the NFL the next day. Gardner-Johnson was also fined $5,128 for his actions with Wims.

In Week 10 against the San Francisco 49ers, Gardner-Johnson recorded his first career sack on quarterback Nick Mullens during the 27–13 win. In Week 12 against the Denver Broncos, Gardner-Johnson intercepted a pass thrown by wide receiver Kendall Hinton during the 31–3 win. Gardner-Johnson was placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list by the Saints on December 30, 2020, and activated on January 8, 2021. In the 2020 season, Gardner-Johnson finished with one sack, 66 total tackles, one interception, and 13 passes defended.

On January 10, 2021, in the NFC Wild Card Round against the Chicago Bears, Gardner-Johnson was involved in a scuffle with another Bears receiver, Anthony Miller. Miller was ejected for the fight while they both received unsportsmanlike conduct penalties.

Gardner-Johnson entered 2021 as a starting safety. He started seven games before being placed on injured reserve on November 13. He was activated on December 11. In a game at the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on December 19, 2021, Gardner-Johnson intercepted Tom Brady's pass intended for Scotty Miller late in the game to close out the 9–0 shutout victory. He finished the 2021 season with two sacks, 46 total tackles, three interceptions, and seven passes defended.

Philadelphia Eagles

On August 30, 2022, the Saints traded Gardner-Johnson along with a 2025 seventh-round pick to the Philadelphia Eagles for a fifth-round pick and the lower of their two sixth-round picks in the 2024 NFL Draft. He started the first 11 games before suffering a lacerated kidney in Week 12. He was placed on injured reserve on December 3, 2022, leading the league in interceptions. He was activated from injured reserve on January 7, 2023. He finished the 2022 season with one sack, 67 total tackles (61 solo), six interceptions, and eight passes defended. Gardner-Johnson helped the Eagles reach Super Bowl LVII. In the Super Bowl, Gardner-Johnson recorded four tackles in the Eagles 38–35 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs.

Detroit Lions

On March 20, 2023, the Detroit Lions signed Gardner-Johnson to a one-year, $8 million contract.

Gardner-Johnson suffered a non-contact leg injury during the start of Lions training camp on July 23, 2023. Despite fears of a potentially season-ending ligament injury, it was announced the next day after an MRI that Gardner-Johnson avoided structural damage and was "day-to-day" in his recovery.

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