CHICAGO (CBS) During the current NFL Lockout there have been plenty of stories about players being arrested or making controversial comments on Twitter. But there have been few stories like the one about Chicago Bears rookie linebacker J.T. Thomas.
Thomas played his college football in Morgantown, at the University of West Virgina. Fourteen-year old Joslyn Levell grew up in Chicago and moved to Morgantown two years ago. On Friday, Thomas took Levell to her end-of-school-year formal dance at Suncrest Middle School in Morgantown, W.Va.
Levell has spina bifida, a condition in which the spine doesn’t properly develop. She’s confined to wheel chair and rides the same bus to school as Thomas’ 7-year old brother, who has autism. The first introduction between Thomas and Levell was initiated by the bus driver, who knew Levell was Bears fans.
Thomas was invited onto the bus while the kids were being dropped off at home. The day he and Levell meet, wasn’t one of the best that she had had at school, all of the boys she asked to the dance declined.
“I hugged her and signed a few things and we talked for awhile and she cried a bit,” Thomas told NFL.com. “I gave her a hug and told her everything would work itself out.”
Shortly after meeting Joslyn, Thomas had his stepmother, Rochelle, contact the school and Levell’s parents to make sure that it would be OK for him to escort her to the dance.
“I was nervous that by the time I reached out, she might have had a date and would have to turn me down,” he said.
Levell gladly accepted the offer, and when she told her classmates, many didn’t believe her.
“J.T. did this on his own accord; this wasn’t a publicity stunt,” said Thomas’ agent, Michael Giorgio. “He didn’t do this to score points with anybody or with the Bears or to get any attention. This is just who he is. He’s got a big heart.”
Thomas was a sixth-round draft pick of the Bears. In four years as a Mountaineer, Thomas recorded 202 tackles and six sacks.