Lions rookie RB Tion Green had a debut to remember, with a TD and surprise visit from his mom

Green ran for 51 yards and a touchdown in his first NFL game

ALLEN PARK >> Shortly after Tion Green arrived in Baltimore with the Lions on Saturday afternoon the rookie running back got a knock on his hotel room door.

“The security guy says there’s a lady downstairs who says she’s your mom. I’m like, ‘What?’ I go downstairs, my mom is outside in a rental car and said let’s go for dinner. I’m like, ‘What?’ We get in the car, go eat, she said I told you I was coming I keep my promises.’ She came to Baltimore from Florida, we went to PF Changs’ in the city. She said tomorrow you’re going to have a good game, you’re going to score a touchdown. I’m like, ‘Mom you’re crazy. I said it’s ironic I might be playing tomorrow and she said you’re going to score too. And after the game I went up to her and asked, ‘How did you know?’’’

She told him she was psychic.

Green was active for his first NFL game on Sunday and just like his mom said, he scored a touchdown in the loss to the Ravens.

(Photo courtesy of Detroit Lions)

“My mom is weird, she said maybe four weeks ago, she said, ‘Come Baltimore you’re going to play in your first game, you’re going to make a touchdown and I’m going to be there,’’’ Green said on Monday. “I was like, ‘Mom, you’re talking crazy, what are you talking about. I don’t know when I’m going to be up.’’

Apparently his mom, Leticia Strickland, knows.

She bought her own ticket to the game, bought her airline ticket and somehow found out the name of the hotel and was in the rental car waiting for her son.

“I just see here in the car smiling — she’s got gold teeth — she said, ‘That’s my son,’’ Green said.

Green had 11 carries for 51 yards and a six-yard touchdown run. His first NFL carry was for 33 yards

“She was the happiest woman in the world, that was my happy moment then because my mom my whole life said, ‘My biggest dream, I want you to make it, I just want to come to a game,’’ said Green who was signed as undrafted rookie free agent in the spring.

It was the first game that Green has been active this season. He said he didn’t know until just before gametime.

“Seriously I was warming up, I came back from warm-ups and my jersey was still in my locker so I kind of knew I was playing,’’ Green said.

Just before the Lions’ third series, coach Jim Caldwell walked up to him.

“Bear in my mind, I’m dressed but I just thought I’d be on special teams,’’ Green said. “Caldwell came over ‘Hey young fellow’ and Kenny (Golladay) is standing next to me. I think he’s talking to Kenny. I’m forgetting I’m dressed. ‘Hey young fellow. You ready? You’ve got to get ready you’re going in.’ ‘Kenny or me?’ ‘You,’’ Caldwell said.

At that point right guard T.J. Lang approached him.

“T.J, he hit me pretty hard on (the helmet) and said, ‘We need a spark right now.’ And he head-butted me and he said, ‘Let’s go,’’’ Green said.

He also pointed out the support he got from his fellow running backs and how much that meant to him. There are five on the roster and only three play each week. It’s a competitive situation but they support each other.

Green said he has not been frustrated standing on the sidelines for the first 11 games.

“Absolutely not, I’m in a very blessed position being on a 53-man roster, make active money, hanging out, working out, giving the defense a good look, being a cheerleader. That’s the best position you could be in,’’ Green said. “The thing about life is you have to be patient, patience is key just like running the football you have to be patient. … My whole story from high school to college is patience, patience, patience. I knew eventually I would get my shot whether it was this year, next year, next week or whenever. I knew I’d get my shot but you have to be ready.’’


Author: Paula Pasche

Paula Pasche, a veteran sports writer, covers the Detroit Lions for her Lions Lowdown blog. She has written two books, "Game of My Life Detroit Lions" and "100 Things Lions Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die" which are available at bookstores and on She won first place for column writing from the Society of Professional Journalists in Detroit (Class B) in 2011, 2012 and 2013 and was The Oakland Press 2010 Staffer of the Year.

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