New York Giants rookie first-round pick Kayvon Thibodeaux has been working hard behind the scenes to secure his important No. 5 jersey since they made him the fifth pick in the 2022 NFL Draft late last month.
The problem? Current Giants kicker Graham Gano wore the No. 5 jersey in his second season with the team last year.
As we’ve seen throughout modern NFL history, the two sides worked together to make sure that Thibodeaux was able to sport the number he wanted to heading into his first season.
The Giants tweeted out a photo of the new No. 5 Kayvon Thibodeaux jersey Monday as a way to report that he has indeed acquired the number from Gano.
However, there’s a much more heart-warming backstory to this entire situation. In return for the jersey, Thibodeaux has donated a whopping $50,000 to Puppies Behind Bars, which provides service dogs for wounded war veterans and first responders.
“When he said he was willing to give to that, I can be No. 9 and maybe in 10-15 years when he retires and I’m still kicking, I can get No. 5 back.
The opportunity to give to something is exciting, and the number is obviously very special to Kayvon. While it is special to me as well, there’s a whole lot of meaning in that No. 5 to him. I just wanted to be a good teammate and also be able to support others throughout the whole process.”Gano said about giving the jersey number to Kayvon Thibodeaux
According to the Giants’ website, Gano and his wife got the idea during a Giants home game in which a service dog was presented to a soldier during a timeout. Gano’s father, Mark, served in the military for 30 years. It hit close to home for the veteran kicker.
“So I’ve seen the sacrifices that are made in those families,” Gano said, “and also the traumatic events that happen that take a toll on some people’s lives.”
Kayvon Thibodeaux, Graham Gano solve jersey “dispute” in tremendous fashion
Puppies Behind Bars is an absolutely amazing charitable foundation. In addition to providing service dogs for military veterans and first responders, it also provides explosive-detection canines for law enforcement.
The kicker? Said pups are trained by incarcerated individuals. They enter the prison at eight weeks old and live with their “puppy-raisers” for roughly two years.
“As the puppies mature into well-loved, well-behaved dogs, their raisers learn what it means to contribute to society rather than take from it. PBB programs bring the love and healing of dogs to hundreds of individuals every year. The dogs bring hope and pride to their raisers, and independence and security to those they serve.”Puppies Behind Bars mission statement
This is just absolutely great. Let’s hope it’s the continuation of a trend around the National Football League to bring attention to charities doing great work behind the scenes.
As for Kayvon Thibodeaux, he will soon sign a fully-guaranteed rookie contract paying the edge rusher an estimated $36.2 million over four years. Yeah, he’ll be just fine without that $50,000 in his checking account.