Media Information Director
DPS Office of Athletics
Detroit Lions linebacker Tahir Whitehead is not only making his mark as one of the NFL’s top young players, but he has also put his stamp of approval on the Detroit Public School League Proud Strong Learners of the Week program.
In keeping with his desire to be a positive role model for Detroit’s youth, Whitehead, 24, has invited PSLers of the Week to share in his community involvement and see up-close and personal another side of being a professional athlete.
“It’s good for these kids to see that being a professional athlete is about more than just playing a sport,” said Whitehead. “I want to give them experience in what it feels like to help those who may be less fortunate than they are.”
The first such collaborative event took place Nov. 11 when Renaissance’s Dwight Harvey, Western’s Romello Ross and DCP-Northwestern’s John Dozier joined Whitehead and Lions’ teammate Don Carey at Clark Preparatory Academy as part of the S.T.E.M. program, an initiative that exposes kids to careers in science, technology, engineering and math through reading and writing.
In addition to his mentoring efforts, Whitehead has teamed with Lady Jane’s Haircuts for Men to provide tickets for each PSLer of the Week to one of three sporting events over the school year.
As an incentive, the fall season’s 20 honorees are invited to attend the Lions vs. Minnesota Vikings game Sunday at Ford Field, while approximately 30 future honorees will get tickets to either the University of Michigan vs. Rutgers basketball game March 7 at Crisler Arena or a Detroit Tigers game (TBD) this spring at Comerica Park.
“I am excited to support Tahir in this initiative,” said Lady Jane’s Chad Johnson. “We were happy to tie our brand with his passion for motivating kids to follow through with education. Providing tickets was a small way to help him help others.”
The PSL Proud Strong Learner of the Week is representative of the league’s top boy and girl athletes. The award is presented by the DPS Office of Athletics and is sponsored by Detroit-area McDonald owner-operators.
“I appreciate Chad and Lady Jane’s for providing the tickets to give to these kids,” said Whitehead, a native of Newark, N.J. who played college football at Temple University in Philadelphia.
“I’m also looking forward to digging deeper with the students-athletes,” Whitehead said. “Very few make it to professional sports, but some kids focus on that as their end-all-be-all. Then, if it doesn’t work out, they are at a loss and think they’ve failed. That’s why mentoring and stressing education is so important.”