Jets' Nelson hosting foster kid who made headlines

Published on NewsOK Modified: December 20, 2013 at 5:38 pm •  Published: December 20, 2013
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FLORHAM PARK, N.J. (AP) — David Nelson needed to do something as soon as he heard Davion Only's story.

The New York Jets wide receiver was blown away, just as so many others around the world were, by Only's emotional adoption plea in October. Only, a 15-year-old boy who was born in prison and raised in foster care, stood up in front of a church congregation in St. Petersburg, Fla., and begged for a family to love him.

"I'll take anyone," Only said. "Old or young, Dad or Mom, black, white, purple, I don't care. And I would be really appreciative. The best I could be."

It was enough to send many to tears, eager to try to help. Nelson, who started the nonprofit organization i'mME with his two brothers to aid orphaned children, got on the phone with his publicist immediately.

"It's a powerful story," Nelson said in an interview with The Associated Press. "I read it and just felt a calling to reach out to Davion."

Only, who has since been featured on various television talk shows and news programs, is getting a chance at his dream as he'll spend the holidays with prospective adoptive parents. But first, he'll be a guest of Nelson and his organization in New York this weekend.

Only and a friend will tour Manhattan, including trips to Rockefeller Center, FAO Schwartz and Central Park.

"A crash course in Christmastime in the city," Nelson said, smiling.

Only will also meet with Nelson and other players Sunday before the Jets' game against the Cleveland Browns at MetLife Stadium.

"My reasoning was to get him out here, get him to the football game and get him around the guys, not so he could be blessed by the guys but so the guys could meet him and kind of be blessed," Nelson said. "He speaks on behalf of all the orphans across America who are in his shoes, to speak on behalf of the voiceless."

That's a subject close to Nelson's heart, one that drives him each day to try to make a difference.

It's a journey that began during Memorial Day weekend in 2011, when he traveled to Haiti with his then-girlfriend and her sister to visit abandoned and orphaned children. Nelson, then playing for the Buffalo Bills, figured it would make for a nice publicity opportunity. Once he got there, everything changed.

"Honestly, I went there for selfish reasons, really," he said. "To see these kids, who have nothing they can call their own or have anything to hold onto, you get to know them and spend time with them, you realize, 'Wow, these kids don't want my money, or the toys or candy that I brought for them. They just want me to hold them, sing them a song or play soccer with them.'

"That touched me on a deep, intimate level. I was wrecked and completely humbled."

He and his brothers Patrick and Daniel had drifted apart over the years, but while in Haiti, he felt an inexplicable urge to re-connect with them. So, after returning from the trip, he told his brothers about his experience and asked them if they'd like to join him when he went back to Haiti.

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