New York Giants punter Steve Weatherford has always been known as a very active person through social media, whether it be on his Twitter or Facebook account. Some players decide not to interact with the fans at all, but Weatherford does, which already makes him a well-liked person by NFL fans.
And an act that he recently provided for one family, and one fan in particular, might not only have won them over, but won over the hearts of fans all over the country once the story became public.
Diane Brennan had always followed Weatherford through Facebook and always thought he was a really nice person because of his interaction with the fans, and she wanted to contact the Giants punter about a potential favor to her ailing father, Joseph Brennan, who was dying from Stage 4 lung cancer and didn't have much time left from the illness. So as she recalled to Paul Schwartz of the New York Post, she deiced to reach out to him.
“He just seems like such a caring person," she said. “I don’t know, for some reason I just felt the need to [message] him, I can’t explain why."
Through Weatherford's personal Facebook account, Brennan asked him if she could send her father's Giants hat to him and if he would be willing to sign him and return it to them. Weatherford was happy to oblige the family's wish.
“He contacted me right away and said, ‘Whatever you want and I will get it back to you as soon as I can,’ " Diane recalled.
Brennan got the hat back on July 26th along with a hand-written note from Weatherford, and she promptly gave it to her dad, who at the time was in the hospital and not doing well from the illness, as she recalled. He was hallucinating at times, but she said once they put the hat on him, he knew what it was, smiled and cheered up.
Sadly, Joseph Brennan passed away on July 30th at the age of 79. He was buried with a Giants helmet, wearing a favorite Giants T-shirt underneath his suit. The family members all wore Giants pins. Diane made sure a picture of Steve Weatherford and the hat he signed were on display at the funeral and the priest went out of his way to mention Weatherford’s kindness. Weatherford couldn't believe that he was even mentioned at the funeral, much less a big part of it.
“I’m thinking to myself this literally took me five minutes and this guy’s lived for 79 years and I’m in his homily?" Weatherford said.
In one last act of kindness and generosity by Weatherford, the Giants punter had Brennan, her son Christopher, daughters Caitlin and Meagan, husband David, her brother Joseph, sister Lynn and mother, Marilyn travel from Rhode Island to the Giants training facility and attend the team's practice as special guests of his. With the hat and having the whole family come to New Jersey to see the Giants up close is something the Brennan family will never forget.
"Steve went way beyond what I ever could have imagined," Diane said. "We're such a humble family. My father’s a very humble man, and for [Weatherford] to take time out of his busy schedule to do anything, we're just average people, just fans that asked for a simple favor and he’s gone way beyond what we ever expected."
In a time where the NFL has taken a hit publicly from the events surrounding Aaron Hernandez's murder accusations and Riley Cooper's racist comments, it truly is heart-warming to see that there are great people in the NFL like Weatherford, who would take the time out of his day and preparation from the season, to give some hope and happiness to a family who went through a difficult time and likely, made a dying fan's last days on Earth very special.
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