Alshon Jeffery, a Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver, took the blame for a crushing NFL playoff loss to the New Orleans Saints last Sunday. But after some second-graders sent him letters of encouragement this week, it was Jeffery's turn to lift the kids' spirits.
Jeffery made a surprise visit to their West Chester, Pa., school on Thursday.
One letter to Jeffery, written by Abigail Johnson, 8, had gone viral on social media. The girl described her reaction after a play late in the game in which a pass slipped off Jeffery's fingertips and became a victory-clinching interception for New Orleans.
"I am a huge Eagles fan," Abigail wrote. "When I watched the play last night I was crying."
Abigail's father, Raymond Johnson, a church pastor, posted a photo of his daughter's letter on Twitter.
"It's okay to loose [sic] a game. You don't always have to win a game," Abigail wrote. "We couldn't have won the Superbowl without you last year. I think you are a [sic] awesome player no matter what."
The entire class wrote letters to the NFL player, but it was Abigail's letter decorated in hearts on homemade stationery that stood out, Fox 29 Philadelphia reported.
"I love you! My whole family was rooting for you! Don't give up on playing football,” Abigail wrote. “Keep practicing. Don't get mad easily, I know you can do it. We all know you are a good player."