NFL Wire News

Giants’ Weatherford stars as real-life hero

on

The Sports Xchange

EAST RUTHERFORD, N. J. — On Monday morning, New York Giants punter Steve Weatherford, whose favorite superhero is Superman, had a chance to be a real-life Superman when he not only pulled himself out of a violent car wreck, he also helped another motorist to safety.

Weatherford, whose wife Laura gave birth to the couple’s fourth child, daughter Josie Jaclyn, on Saturday in California, caught a noon flight from the West Coast to allow himself plenty of time to return to New Jersey and to get ready for his first Organized Team Activity (OTA) practice of the spring.

Mother Nature, however, had other ideas. A series of severe and violent weather in the northeast forced Weatherford’s flight to be re-routed to Dulles International Airport in Washington, D.C., where it landed shortly after 11 p.m. local time

Rather than wait for the next bus north, the 32-year-old punter decided to rent a car — Volkswagen Jetta — and make the four-hour drive back to Hoboken.

“It was raining really hard and it was about three hours into a four-hour drive and I had about 55 miles left and was passing Exit 8 on the New Jersey Turnpike and it was dry road conditions,” he said.

“I was running about 68-70 miles per hour and I guess there was a drainage clog and all of a sudden I ran into a pretty thick pool of water. I’ve hit bigger pools of water than that, but I was in a SUV.

“So once my entire car got into it, I started to hydroplane and I don’t know how many times I spun around after maybe the second or fourth one, I saw the median coming at me, and I braced up and was braced that the airbag deployed.”

When it was over, Weatherford said he walked away from the crash with nothing more than a few scratches, some general soreness and a split lip.

He also walked away from the scene as a hero.

“I had my blinkers on and was just getting ready to call 911 not because I needed medical attention, but because I knew it was a dangerous situation with the car sitting in the middle of the NJ Turnpike,” he said.

“Before I could call 911, I looked behind me and could hear a splash and there’s a Nissan Maxima that was hydroplaning as well and which ran into my car.”

As soon as the other car came to a halt, Weatherford, who is well known for his workout regimen and strength, went to the other vehicle in search of the driver and any passengers. However, the doors had been warped due to the impact of the crash, which made it hard to open them.

He finally succeeded in prying the door open, finding the driver of the other vehicle unconscious with blood coming from his nose.

“I was a little bit nervous about trying to not touch his neck,” Weatherford said of the other passenger.

“So I jostled his shoulder to wake him up so if he can move, we needed to get him out of the car before it became a pile-up.

“He woke up and I unbuckled him and I was able to pull him out of the back of the car and then he spilled himself onto the New Jersey Turnpike, and then we moved to the shoulder where the New Jersey State Police came within 10 minutes.”

The other passenger was given medical attention and Weatherboard was driven home by two State Troopers who were at the accident scene.

“I’m just feeling so blessed,” he said. Not just after the birth of my daughter-I’ve always been an optimistic guy-but just being here after the experience last night. There’s no other way to explain it.”

As far as skipping the voluntary OTA practice on Monday, Weatherford said that was never an option regardless of his eventful return from the West Coast.

“It was a priority for me to be here for practice,” he said. “I missed three of them last weekend I haven’t missed an OTA in 10 years in the NFL, so my (football) family is important. Had I waited for the bus, I would have been late to practice and {head coach) Tom Coughlin doesn’t get down like that.”

Weatherford, who was wearing his seatbelt at the time of the accident, said the incident put things into perspective for him.

“I take pride in always being positive but when something like that happens, you kind of realize that everyone is human and it was a big deal and I’m very fortunate to be alive,” he said.


About The Sports Xchange

Since 1987, the Sports Xchange has been the best source of information and analysis for the top professionals in the sports publishing & information business