Rookie Camp Notes: He goes by 'TJ'
MAY 17, 2014 6:08p ET
ALLEN PARK, Mich. -- He goes by TJ, with no periods, which stands for his first and last name -- Tai-ler Jones.
"My mother's from Korea so they wanted to go with a unique spelling; the 'Tai' is like Taiwan," said Jones, who was born in Canada but went to high school in Georgia. "They were calling me 'Trailer,' 'Tyler,' 'Taylor,' anything you could think of with that arrangement of letters.
"It just made it a little easier to say 'TJ' on the field and off the field."
Jones, who caught 70 passes for 1,108 yards and nine touchdowns last season at Notre Dame, is trying to win a backup role as a slot receiver with the Lions.
He recently met Calvin Johnson, his new teammate, and said simply, "Whassup?"
"I wasn't really sure what to say," Jones admitted. "You never know how people are going to interact with you. He's very welcoming, very down to Earth, humble, makes you comfortable to be around. That was definitely a positive for me."
It's still going to take the rookie a little time to get totally used to lining up next to a superstar such as Megatron.
"At first it was a little overwhelming," Jones said. "It's kind of a dream come true to have such greats surrounding you. It's something you have to get used to. If I want to get on the field, I'm going to be surrounded by that.
"But it's a little different when you go from college to professional. I was at Notre Dame. It's a big program, there's a lot of media coverage, there's greats that come from there.
"At the same time, while I'm at Notre Dame, I'm looking up to people like Calvin Johnson, Golden Tate, looking up to quarterbacks like Matthew Stafford. Getting to play with your role models, that takes some getting used to even if you come from a Notre Dame."
The Lions will finish up their three-day rookie mini-camp with one more practice on Sunday.
Linebacker Kyle Van Noy, the team's second-round pick from BYU, describing his potential role on the defense: "A do-it-all kind of 'backer, to be able to rush, to be able to be in coverage. Coach (defensive coordinator Teryl Austin) is going to put me in different places and I'm excited about it."