PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) – An Arizona Cardinals player is thankful for a Phoenix family who helped get him to Sunday’s game after he had a flat tire while heading to State Farm Stadium in Glendale.
Linebacker Jesse Luketa was 30 minutes away from State Farm Stadium when his tire went flat, and he had less than an hour to make it there by his noon deadline. “I don’t think this has ever happened to any other professional player, you know across football, basketball, soccer. It’s definitely one for the books. And, extremely grateful and forever indebted to them,” said Luketa.
Tire trouble has been a recurring issue for Luketa, who says his front left tire keeps going flat, but this was the first time it happened on game day. Luketa’s heart started beating faster as he realized he would be late for warm-ups if he waited for roadside assistance to arrive.
However, the Red Bird linebacker didn’t have to miss a thing, thanks to a Phoenix family who stopped at a gas station on the way to the game.
The Phillips family were all wearing Cardinals jerseys while filling up their tank on Tatum Boulevard off Loop 101, and Luketa, who was trying unsuccessfully to put air in his tire, thought they were the right people to ask for a ride.
“At first, they didn’t believe I was a player, and I was like, ‘yeah, I’m a player; I need to get to the stadium.’ He looked at me like, ‘uhh, ok.’ Goes to talk to his wife, comes back and was like, ‘let’s do it.’ Made it happen, we had a great drive over there,” said Luketa. During the car ride, the family got to learn more about Luketa, including where he went to college and how he spent his Thanksgiving.
After making it there on time, the Phillips family cheered on Luketa and saw him make a tackle during the game. “Honestly, at the end of the day, we were just trying to help somebody out. It wasn’t the fact that he played football, or didn’t, or whatever it was. We were just truly trying to help somebody out,” said J.W. Phillips, who gave Luketa a ride.
Luketa said he will be giving the Phillips family tickets to the Cardinals’ next home game against the San Francisco 49ers on Dec. 17, and the family is excited to root for him in person.
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