Eric Decker’s football giveaway meant more to a fan than a souvenir


Dec 1, 2013; Kansas City, MO, USA; Denver Broncos wide receiver Eric Decker (87) catches a touchdown pass against Kansas City Chiefs cornerback Marcus Cooper (31) in the second half at Arrowhead Stadium. Denver won the game 35-28. Mandatory Credit: John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports

Denver Broncos receiver and former Gophers football star Eric Decker had a career game against the Kansas City Chiefs last weekend. The fourth year player caught eight passes for 174 yards and four touchdowns as the Broncos defeated the Chiefs, 35-28.

His performance earned him the AFC Offensive Player of the Week Award and made him a popular pick-up on the fantasy waiver wire this week. But aside from his performance on the field, it was what he did with one of the four footballs he took into the endzone that has the internet buzzing.

"Dear Mike Klis,My name is Cody Leonard and I am writing in hopes you will pass along my appreciation to Eric Decker for me. I’m from Mount Pleasant, Iowa and I was at the Kansas City game in the second row by the corner of the end zone. Decker gave me the game ball from his third quarter touchdown grab. It was absolutely a dream come true for me and a memory I will always cherish, and a highlight I will always save!It meant even more to me after Monday, though. My grandpa’s health was in decline and he was put on hospice care and given six months to live shortly before Thanksgiving. We were lucky enough to have him with us for our holiday celebration but he didn’t wake up Sunday and he passed away Monday.I shared the Decker story with him and let him touch the ball Monday before he died. Even though he was not conscious for it I like to believe he knew what was happening. It was also an emotional lift for my grieving family.Please let Eric Decker know he did more than set a Bronco record on Sunday.Thank you,Cody J. Leonard"

Klis, the Broncos beat reporter for the Denver Post, published the letter to the Post’s blog on Wednesday.

Decker, a native of Cold Spring, Minn., is on track to have the best season of his career, not to mention he’s set for a major payday at the end of the season. In 12 games this year, he’s had 63 receptions for 971 yards and seven touchdowns.

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