WILLOUGHBY, Ohio – The Sunday showdown between the Browns and Kansas City Chiefs just got more competitive thanks to NFL rising superstar and Northeast Ohio native Kareem Hunt and a surprise delivery by his mother.
“Kareem is blessed to be able to give back to the community, for God blessing him with his gift,” said Stephanie Riggins, Hunt’s mother, “I just feel it is something we should do to kids to show them they can accomplish any dream they want as long as they stay focused and positive.”
Stephanie Riggins entered a room full of Willoughby-South football players, greeted with cheers and chants of her son’s name. The applause was for good reason; Hunt and his mother purchased more than 100 tickets for the upcoming game, the first time Hunt will face his hometown team in the NFL.
Hunt was always a star and FOX 8 has followed him since he wore a Rebels jersey. He was named “Fox 8 2012 Player of the Year” for his work on the gridiron. A short time later he signed with the University of Toledo. And, through it all, his former high school coach continues to cheer him on.
“For him to be playing the way he is playing and have a game in Cleveland, for them to reach out and pay for the whole entire football program to go to the game, is a pretty neat deal,” said coach Matt Duffy.
This latest game plan one students say they will not soon forget.
“A lot of people look up to him because he went to this school now we can dream big,” said team co-captain Drew Schoeppler.
Now the only snap decision left is to figure out who to root for at First Energy Stadium on Sunday.
“That’s tough, the Browns are my favorite team, but Kareem is my favorite player, so I got to say Kareem,” said team co-captain Cameron VonSeggern.
As for Hunt’s mother, who now spends more time in Kansas City, the answer is simple.
“I would love for the Browns to win, but not this game,” said Riggins with a laugh.
According to Duffy, Hunt will team up with the school again next year during a free football camp.