Romo cherishes his position to help others

Dallas Cowboys QB Tony Romo, Ben Grant the from Starlight Foundation and Johnny Damon of the New York Yankees pose for a photograph during batting practice on Tuesday. (Joe Kohen / Getty Images)

Dallas Cowboys QB Tony Romo (left) introduced 10-year-old Ben Grant (center), who has leukemia, to Yankees outfielder Johnny Damon during batting practice Tuesday in New York. (Joe Kohen / Getty Images)

NFL players often find themselves in a position to help others. That fact isn’t lost on Cowboys QB Tony Romo.

Before Romo chatted live with readers on Tuesday, I had a few minutes to talk with him about his upcoming appearance at Yankee Stadium. Romo, working with The Starlight Children’s Foundation, was on hand to escort Ben Grant, a 10-year-old  diagnosed with ALL, a form of childhood leukemia. Ben’s dream was to attend batting practice with the Yankees.

“The older and older I get, the more I come to the realization and start to understand that the position we’re put in, the position in the public eye, you have the ability to do things to make people feel good and to help out certain people’s lives,” Romo said. “It’s been very rewarding for me to get that sensation and that feeling to know that you’ve influenced or somehow made someone feel a little bit better in their lives.

“Those are the things that really, I guess, touch you deep down in some ways and lets you know really what life comes down to. How many lives can you touch? I try to do more of that — I know I have a long way to go in that regard — but it just makes you feel good to know that you’re making others feel good.”

There’s saying the right things, and then there’s doing the right things. Romo appears to be in the latter group. He is, remember, the good samaritan who helped a stranded motorist on the side of the road and once caught a movie (tickets on Romo) with an individual who was homeless.

Introducing Ben to Derek Jeter, Johnny Damon and the rest of the Yankees probably wasn’t a big deal to Romo, but you know it was to the 10-year-old. A lot of this goes on around the NFL, but quite frankly, many players prefer to keep it under the radar. Even as I pointed out how generic the question was, Romo tried to explain why this aspect of being an NFL player is important to him.

“When I’m on my death bed, and I’m old and gray, I’d like to be able to think that I cared about other human beings,” Romo said. “I just want to do what I hope someone would do for me, if the situation was reversed. Believe me, I’m the furthest thing from a good person sometimes, but you just try to make good decisions along the way and try to help out others. … For me, I know it’s meaningful to make someone feel good.”

— Frank Tadych

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