Derrick Johnson opens 16th Discovery Den & first in Waco

WACO, Texas (KWTX) Former Waco Lion and Texas Longhorn Derrick Johnson returned to his old elementary school Monday to cut the ribbon for DJ's Discovery Den.

The recently-retired NFL linebacker read a book to some of the kids and answered a few of their questions at J-H Hines Elementary.

This program is made possible via the Defend the Dream Foundation, which was founded in 2012 as a mission to help kids reach their full potential.

"It's just setting the stage to say, 'Hey, education is fun. Reading is fun,'" Johnson said. "It's one of those things where, especially in the inner city, which is where I grew up, education is very important. I let the kids know that whatever you want to be in life, education has to be a big part of that."

According to his official website, this is the 16th Discovery Den that he has helped open, but the first in the Waco area. All of the other ones are in Kansas City, where he played 13 years in the NFL with the Chiefs.

"This is extra special because I do discovery dens all over the country, mainly in Kansas City," Johnson said. "Now I'm back doing a lot more in Texas. Having my first Discovery Den here in Waco in my school -- the one I went to elementary school -- it's pretty special for me. I'm very proud of Waco ISD."