Now, Durham’s catches are being noticed by a few more people — as in millions — around the country.
Durham, who was activated from the Detroit Lions practice squad last week, made his Lions’ debut on Sunday night when they visited Lambeau Field to take on NFC North rival Green Bay.
The former Calhoun and UGA receiver made quite an impression in his first game wearing the silver and blue as he started and hauled in four catches for 54 yards, including a spectacular one-hand grab in the second quarter.
Durham said that play alone can be attributed to how hard he’s worked in practice.
“We practice every day to perfect our craft,” said Durham. Tough catches happen on a daily basis so when the time came, I just reacted and was able to come down with the ball.”
Durham, who was signed to the Lions’ practice squad in August after he was released by the Seattle Seahawks, got the news last week that he had been activated after Detroit receivers Titus Young and Ryan Broyles had both been placed on injured reserve.
“I was excited about the opportunity that had presented itself,” said Durham being activated. “It was something that I had been working hard for.”
Durham was drafted by the Seahawks in the fourth round of the 2011 NFL Draft and played in three games for them last season before being injured. He made his NFL debut that season against the Pittsburgh Steelers when he caught three passes for 30 yards.
He said being able to make his Lions debut last Sunday in the atmosphere he played in was a great experience.
“To play in my Lions debut against a historic team like the Packers was a dream come true,” said Durham. “Lambeau (Field) in the snow is the image that comes to my mind when I think of the history of the NFL.”
Durham was the Class AA Defensive Player of the Year as a safety his senior year when the Jackets made it to the state title game against Charlton County. He graduated from Calhoun High in 2006 and continued his career at UGA where he became friends and roommates with his current quarterback for the Lions, Matthew Stafford.
Durham has been living with Stafford since being signed by the Lions, and he said the opportunity to play with him again is something has been looking forward to since making the move to Detroit.
“Matthew and I have been close since our time together at UGA,” said Durham. “We work out together on occasion during the offseason and had even joked around about playing together. So it was exciting to get back on the field with him again.”
Another advantage of playing for the Lions for Durham is having arguably the NFL’s top receiver, Calvin Johnson on the opposite side of the field from him. Not only does Johnson help take coverage away from Durham, he also helps him in his preparation.
“CJ is an incredible talent,” said Durham. “He’s one of the hardest workers I’ve ever seen, and I’ve learned a lot by working with him every day.”
Durham and the Lions will try to rebound from the 27-20 loss to Green Bay when they visit the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday at 4 p.m.