NFL Football Player and Fan Exemplify Excellence Off the Field

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Posted: Jan 09, 2020 4:30 PM
NFL Football Player and Fan Exemplify Excellence Off the Field

Source: AP Photo/Butch Dill

This past Saturday, the National Football League playoffs kicked off with Wild Card weekend. With two games going into overtime and the others being just as competitive, it was an entertaining weekend for football fans. It was an especially good weekend for the Minnesota Vikings and the team's Pro Bowl tight end, Kyle Rudolph.

On Sunday, defying the expectations of everyone except their fans' and their own, the Minnesota Vikings rolled into Mercedes-Benz Superdome and defeated a talented New Orleans Saints football team in overtime. Kyle Rudolph scored the game-winning touchdown, catching a floater to the back corner of the endzone from quarterback Kirk Cousins.

Post-game in the locker room, it was "a zoo," as Rudolph described on Twitter. Players and media were everywhere. At some point, a man who claimed to be a member of the media approached the player of the hour, asking Rudolph if he could have his game-worn gloves as a donation for a charity event. Rudolph didn't hesitate. He gave the man the gloves and even signed them.

As it turned out, the supposed reporter had an ulterior motive for asking for the gloves, and a Twitter user brought it to Rudolph's attention.

Rudolph responded to the tweet, explaining how he was deceived and that the gloves were sold on eBay three days after the game. He also stated he didn't know the man and said the individual couldn't have been a local or national reporter.

"I saw this.. [sic] it's disappointing," Rudolph tweeted.

But the story doesn't end there. The man who bought the gloves off eBay, Jason King, saw what had happened, and reached out to Rudolph to try to make things right.

"I'm the guy who bought them. I will gladly donate to a charity of your choice," King replied.

Of course, Rudolph saw the tweet and asked King if he'd donate the gloves to the M Health Fairview UMN Masonic Children’s Hospital. Rudolph also made a promise to King: "I will make sure to get you my pair from this weekends [sic] game!"

The children's hospital was thrilled by the news and chimed in.

Since the exchange, the hospital has received more than $13,000 in donations.

It's important to note that this isn't Kyle Rudolph's only charitable act. He's his team's nominee for the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award, which "recognizes an NFL player for his excellence on and off the field."

"The winner of the award each year receives $250,000 donated to the charity of his choice. All other 31 nominees will receive a $50,000 donation in their name donated to their charity of choice. All donations are courtesy of the NFL Foundation and Nationwide," NFL.com states.