Being a good guy doesn’t make you a professional athlete, but when great people do find success on the highest stage it sure makes it easy to root for them. There’s a story unfolding in California that has all these elements.
Oakland Raiders rookie Anthony Cioffi is making a bid to make the team as an undrafted player. So far he has done quite well. The safety has recorded three tackles and forced a fumble in the Raiders first two preseason games. His play on the field has Oakland fans cheering. The more you find out about Cioffi, the easier it is to root him on.
Right now, Cioffi, a former Rutgers star is exciting football fans from the Golden State to the Garden State. Raider Nation is discovering they may have one of the top steals in the entire league in this speedy defensive back while Cioffi’s hometown of Springfield, New Jersey is marveling at their favorite son’s smashing success. But while so many are throwing accolades at Cioffi, he’s focusing on others–particularly Special Olympics athletes.
Before the Raiders took on the Los Angles Rams last week, Cioffi posted a heartfelt message on social media.
“Dedicating tonight’s game to my friends AJ and Allie from my hometown of Springfield, New Jersey. I hope I can inspire these two Special Olympic New Jersey superstars the way they have me. Going to send them these gloves after the game and ones each week to different #SONJ Olympians.
AJ and Allie both participate in SONJ soccer, basketball, volleyball, bocce, and swimming. They are gold medallists in basketball, swimming, and bocce.
At the summer games every June, Rutgers Football players would sponsor the athletes and walk with them into the arena for opening ceremonies. It was there I met these two wonderful people.”
Cioffi remembered these awesome kids and now he plans on honoring amazing athletes throughout his NFL journey. I have had the privilege to announce Special Olympics events over the years and I can speak on this personally. Special Olympics athletes are the best of the best. They are the coolest children you could ever meet. I am thrilled Cioffi has decided to give these great children this special recognition.
Anthony Cioffi’s fate with the Raiders will be ultimately decided based on his play on the field. So far, that play has been superb. If he does make it however, there will be several reasons to root for him. His speed, his ability to hit, his nose for the ball, and his work ethic are all high on that list. They all come in a distant second though behind the fact that this Christian athlete who always puts family first loves his country and has a heart for children.
Dedicating tonight's game to my friends AJ and Allie from my hometown of Springfield, New Jersey. I hope I can inspire…
To read about Cioffi’s impressive play with the Oakland Raiders check out this feature from Breitbart: http://www.breitbart.com/sports/2017/08/21/jersey-hitman-raiders-safety-cioffi-generates-excitement-coast-to-coast/
Follow Kevin Scholla on Twitter @kevinscholla