In Signing Leonard Pope, Steelers Add a Hero To The Roster

KANSAS CITY MO - DECEMBER 05: Leonard Pope #45 of the Kansas City Chiefs celebrates after making a catch in the endzone for a touchdown during the game against the Denver Broncos on December 5 2010 at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City Missouri. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

The lockout before the 2011 season took its toll on many people who rely on the NFL for a living - that's players, coaches, owners, along with writers.

One of the particularly heartwarming stories of the whole lockout ordeal was one of newly acquired Steelers TE Leonard Pope, who, as ESPN's Rick Reilly penned in August, saved a young boy's life because he wasn't at training camp.

As Reilly wrote, Pope was in attendance at a birthday party in Americus, Ga., when a young boy, Bryson Moore, began sinking in a swimming pool.

With Bryson's mother yelling for help, Pope, apparently the only one near the pool who could swim, dove in after the seven-year-old, and brought him back to the surface.

He handed the boy to his mother, who quickly rushed him to the hospital.

Reilly reported Bryson was fine, but Pope had left by the time they returned from the hospital.

Bryson's mom didn't get a chance to thank Pope. She was too busy rushing Bryson to the hospital, where he would check out fine. By the time she got back, Pope was gone. She was so overcome that she stayed up all night staring at Bryson while he slept and thanking God for sending a man like Leonard Pope.

"If I'd had a million dollars," she later told Pope on the phone, "I'd have given it to you right there and then."

It may seem like a nonchalant thing, but it's still a pretty cool story. I'm sure his 6-foot-8 frame helped get him to the bottom of the 9-foot pool in a hurry too.

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