Windsor

Luke Willson looking forward to playing for his childhood hero's team

Luke Willson talks about coming back home to play for the Detroit Lions

Dressed up for Halloween as legendary Detroit Lions player Barry Sanders more than once

Luke Willson holds up a Canadian flag after the NFL Super Bowl XLVIII football game against the Denver Broncos, Sunday, Feb. 2, 2014, in East Rutherford, N.J. The Seahawks won 43-8. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

Luke Willson is looking forward to living year-round closer to home and to playing on the same team as his hero once did.

Willson spent more than one Halloween dressed up as his childhood football hero, the legendary Detroit Lions running back Barry Sanders.

Now, the LaSalle resident will have his own name on the back of a Lions' jersey.

And, he's already making plans to move to Detroit.

Willson signed a one-year deal with the NFL squad on Wednesday, after playing with the Seattle Seahawks for five years and winning a Super Bowl with them in 2013.

Growing up, Willson was a Lion's fan in a house full of Green Bay Packer enthusiast.

"It was not the most enjoyable thing as a child but now — it's only taken me 28 years — but I've converted them all and they are now all Lions' fans," Willson told Windsor Morning.

Willson said he told his agent, if the opportunity arose, he'd like to play in Detroit and that opportunity did arise.

"You get a call from the agent and it's like, alright, we've gotta figure out something in the next hour or so," he said. "Everything kind of moves pretty fast."

Willson a fan favourite

Willson's long hair and community involvement made him a fan favourite in Seattle.

"I don't know. I'm a little bit goofy?" he said. "It's that kind of fan base out there, too. They really embrace their players."

Willson will continue to be involved in the community and try to be a role model for young people in the area. 

I'm just a guy who's had some success in his field.- Luke Willson

"I'm just a guy who's had some success in his field," he said, adding he just wants to inspire kids to "expand your mind a little bit on the possibilities of where you can take your life and your passions."

Willson wore the number 82 with the Seahawks and says he hopes to wear the same number in Detroit. 

It's a number he's worn since his college football days at Rice University in Texas.

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