Chris Johnson connects with family of Sandy Hook victim

Published On December 22, 2012 | By Jill Saftel

Victor Cruz isn’t the only NFL player going above and beyond when it comes to recognizing the families of the Newtown, Conn. shooting. Titans running back Chris Johnson has sent gifts to the family of Grace McDonnell, after speaking with Grace’s brother via telephone.

According to The Associated Press, Johnson wrote the victims’ names on his cleats during Monday night’s showdown with the Jets, in which he scored on a Titans-record 94-yard touchdown run. The McDonnell family got in touch with Johnson through the Titans organization, and Tuesday Johnson spoke with the family 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 sent a few Christmas gifts to Jack and the rest of the McDonnell family, and also offered his phone number in they event they need help with anything in the future.

The plan to auction off his cleats from Monday night to raise money for the victims’ families is still a go, just another way Johnson can lend a hand.

The Titans running back became a father himself earlier this year with the arrival of twin boys, with recent events only making him more appreciative to have his sons. However, Johnson doesn’t want his efforts to take any attention away from the families in need.

“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.

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About The Author

Jill studies journalism at Northeastern University, covers Hockey East for College Hockey News and is the sports editor for The Huntington News. You can follow her on Twitter at @jillsaftel, just don't ask her to choose between hockey and baseball, it's impossible.