When players sign autographs after training camp practices, they have dozens of items thrust into their hands for their signature. It isn’t always a personal interaction.
But Wednesday, Torry Holt made it one.
Buddy Andrade, a Westport resident who works as a retail supervisor for the Patriots, brought daughters Hadleigh and Braelyn to training camp for the team’s afternoon session. Four-year old Braelyn wears a Tedy Bruschi because like the Pats great she has a patent foramen ovale, a congenital heart defect.
Holt began signing autographs in one area and promised to loop back to the end of the line, where Andrade and his family were. But when the veteran receiver, who has two daughters and a son, got to the little girls, an older fan put a large banner in front of their faces. Holt signed it and began to move on when Braelyn began to cry.
Holt heard her, turned around and sought her out.
“He came over to sign her ball and asked if there was anyone else there with her he could sign for,” Andrade said in an e-mail. “He then pulled Braelyn to the other side of the rope, onto the field, while she was still crying, asked her name and picked her up. They had a conversation while he hugged and consoled her until Braelyn was completely calm and smiling.”
Yesterday, Holt said he is sensitive to “good, innocent people.”
“It was a natural emotion – she had tears for something she wanted that didn’t happen. That’s natural,” he said. “It was raw emotion, and I just wanted to console her and give her what she came out here for.”
Photo courtesy of the Andrade family and Patriots fan Peter Maeck.