Reaching the NFL is the pinnacle of one’s football career. Every story in the league is different, but nearly all of them are filled with challenges and adversity. Leading up to the draft, players are focused on training to turn out good combines and pro days. They are practicing interviewing skills to entice teams to draft them higher.
When they get to the league, they often talk about their first purchase, such as a home for their parents who supported them, enjoying the spotlight, making a name, and brand, for themselves, or sharing their own journey, challenges, and triumphs.
Cam Taylor-Britt’s story isn’t wholly unique in that regard. Taylor-Britt is a naturally charismatic guy, and he’s wasted no time bringing energy to the Bengals locker room. The media has also noticed. Being a second-round pick who could make an immediate impact on the field, Cam has instantly become a recognizable focal point in the Bengals organization.
What hasn’t gone as noticed is what Cam did leading up to the 2022 NFL Draft. What sets Cam Taylor-Britt apart is that he hasn’t focused on his journey, but rather shared the journey of one of his friends. Cam used his platform to give a helping hand to a friend, and former teammate, who shared in part of his journey and is going through his own different journey, challenges, and tribulations. On April 1st, less than a month before the draft, Cam Taylor-Britt took to Twitter, sharing the GoFundMe of Konica Harris, the mother of Cam’s high school teammate, Christopher “CJ” Knight.
My retelling of CJ’s story does no justice to the raw and heartfelt story Konica Harris shared in the updates section, but I’ll briefly paraphrase it. In 2017, CJ injured his spinal cord during the team’s practice. CJ spent two and a half months in the hospital, but the result of the injury left him paralyzed from the chest down. After many complications and surgeries, CJ is eligible to try stem cell treatments, which may restore his nerves and allow him to regain some mobility.
The proceeds of donations will help cover the cost of the procedure, travel expenses to Panama City, and an estimated 2 to 3 weeks of lodging. Cam Taylor-Britt’s tweet included a pledge of sending an autographed photo to anyone who supported CJ’s GoFundMe with a $20+ donation.
The Bengal’s coaching staff has preached about building a culture in their locker room. Initially, this was seen as the normal coaching talk told to Bengals fans for decades, but the character of the players, the success on the field, and now the actions of one of their latest draftees have proven how great these Bengals are on and off the field.
As of the writing of this article, CJ’s GoFundMe has reached $22,274 of its $40,000 goal and has received 678 donations, including mine. As is sad, but also necessary current age of the internet, you can check out multiple sources, such as this and this, to verify the situation for yourself and read more about CJ’s injury.
This is a tragic page of a larger story where we have a chance to change the ending of a chapter. If any of you in Bengals Nation would also like to support CJ and his family through his journey, even if you can’t afford a $20 donation, because every bit helps, you can do so in a few different ways. Here is a link to his GoFundMe, but you can also donate through CashApp. CashApp avoids GoFundMe’s 2.9% charge on donations. The CashApp tag is $CJislove1.