Amon-Ra St. Brown is having a very European summer. The Detroit Lions wide receiver, fresh off a 1,500-yard, 10-touchdown season, is one of the league’s most thrilling players heading into the 2024 season. But before he gets to all that, St. Brown is reconnecting with his roots. Born and raised in Southern California to an American bodybuilder father and a mother from Leverkusen, Germany, St. Brown made frequent trips to his mom’s hometown as a kid, becoming fluent in the language and eschewing sightseeing in favor of local living.

“My mom’s whole side of the family was out there, so it was basically a second home for me.” St. Brown said. “I’ve been, like, probably over 20 times. I went in the summers and just lived a regular life like any German kid would. I’m used to it, but it’s always cool to go back and see a different culture, different people, different everything.” Throughout his career, he’s fielded all types of questions from reporters wondering if he uses his second language as a covert way to smack talk his opponents. That’s not really how the brash, sometimes blue-haired 24-year-old operates. “That doesn’t make sense to me. If I’m talking shit, I want them to know what I’m saying,” he smirked. “If I’m really hot, I’ll just tell them in English.”

This summer brought another visit, but this time, it was to host his second annual St. Brown football camp. The first one—held last summer, after St. Brown’s breakout season—drew over 100 kids. This one, in Cologne, got a similarly enthusiastic turnout. His conversation with GQ happened just days before leaving, and in the time since, he took in a game at the Euros and visited a preschool he used to attend as a child. “It’s always cool to go back and see a different culture, different people, different everything,” he said. “I’m so used to Germany that I don’t even know what the tourist attractions are. In Cologne, they have the church. That’s pretty cool. Shoot, what else? You gotta try schnitzel, sauerkraut, and German beer. I’m probably the wrong person to ask. I just go out there and do my thing.”

St. Brown has become something of an attraction himself, especially during football season in Detroit. In 2023—as the Lions enjoyed their best season in 30 years, stomping all the way to the NFC Championship Game—he said that the fanfare was impossible to avoid. “They’re some of the best fans in the world. If I go out to eat, people always come up and thank me for what I’ve done for the city, which I think is pretty cool. They always tell us that we, as a team, bring so much joy to them. It’s nice to make other people happy. The people of Detroit deserve it.”

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