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Avonte Maddox Will Have Plenty of Support When he Plays the Lions

The Eagles CB bought 35 tickets to Sunday's game for players and coaches from his former high school football team and has a tattoo of the team he grew up rooting for
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PHILADELPHIA – Avonte Maddox has played in 42 NFL games since entering the league as a fourth-round draft pick in 2018.

None of them were in his hometown of Detroit.

That changes Sunday (1 p.m./FOX) when the Eagles play the Lions at Ford Field in downtown Detroit.

The Eagles cornerback went to high school at Martin Luther King High school, just a few blocks from Ford Field. He bought 35 tickets for family, including his dad and uncle, friends, and the entire football team at MLK, including coaches.

“It’s real meaningful,” said Maddox on Thursday. “All the time my coaches in high school put in for me to the point of traveling to different states to get me exposure to colleges. They’re a high school coach, they don’t have to do that.

“They’re not our father, but they took the time out of their day to do it. It meant a lot to me so whenever I can give back, I’m willing to do so and help as much as I can.”

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Maddox loved the Lions as well as every other Detroit sports team growing up, but it was the Lions logo that he chose to tattoo on the inside of his left arm in his freshman year of high school.

He wasn’t even really a fan of football then. He was more of a baseball guy. His love for the game didn’t really reach full bloom until his sophomore year at the University of Pittsburgh.

For the record, Maddox said he doesn't have an Eagles tattoo anywhere amongst a sea of them on his body.

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He's always loved the Lions.

“I always kept tabs on my Lions,” he said, “but going through changes, still, it was a little tough, but I always supported them because it’s my home team and I always will.”

He also keeps tabs as much as possible on his high school team.

Tyrone Spencer is now Martin Luther King’s head coach. He was the defensive coordinator when Maddox played there and helped the Crusaders reach two state championship games, which were played at Ford Field.

Maddox’s head coach at MLK, Dale Harvel, had a heart attack five years ago and passed away.

“I know he’ll be up in the sky looking down, watching me play because I played a big part and he played a big part in my life,” said Maddox. “It’ll be an opportunity to show what I can do in the NFL at that moment.”

Maddox won’t put any added pressure on himself to make a big play, even with Harvel looking on from high above and friends and family filling out one of the sections at Ford Field.

He’ll stay in the moment, intent on helping the Eagles get into the win column to improve on their current 2-5 record.

“I’m just going to play my best game,” he said. “My best game doesn’t have to be a pick-6, as long as I do everything right as far as having great eyes, and details and being where I’m supposed to be at the right time, that’ll happen.”

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Ed Kracz is the publisher of SI.com’s Eagle Maven and co-host of the Eagles Unfiltered Podcast. Check out the latest Eagles news at www.SI.com/NFL/Eagles or www.eaglemaven.com and please follow him on Twitter: @kracze.