CLEVELAND, Texas — A former Cleveland High School football star-turned-undrafted NFL rookie will practice and play against the Houston Texans this week.

Kevin Strong, Jr.’s motivation to make the Detroit Lions roster is to help his father.

“I just broke down in tears,” Kevin Sr. said of the moment Kevin Jr. shared his motivation.

Undrafted rookies face long odds to make any NFL team. Strong, Jr., however, is standing out for more than his six-foot-four, 283-pound frame to some Detroit Lions observers at training camp.

“He’s like when I make this roster, there’s things I want to give you all,” Tanisha Strong, Kevin Jr.’s mom said.

Kevin, Sr. played football in high school. He never smoked. Still, doctors found cancer in his lungs last year. It is treatable, though radiation is taking a toll on Strong, Sr.’s body. He is no longer able to work.

So Kevin, Jr. promised to push to make the team for his dad. In return, his father promised to push through treatment.

“Not only is our son his motivation, he is our son’s motivation,” Tanisha Strong said. “They motivate one another. So that’s a blessing.”

The Strong family will see their son Wednesday after the Lions practice against the Texans. 20 relatives and friends on Saturday will then watch Strong, Jr. play his first professional game at NRG Stadium.

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