Daily Sports Smile: New England Patriots Devin McCourty gives young fan birthday surprise

Victoria Hernandez
USA TODAY Sports+

Little kids dream of meeting their sports hero, and a young New England Patriots fan got to do just that this offseason.

After his sister posted a TikTok about his upcoming birthday, the Patriots invited Jaxxon and his family to Gillette Stadium for a day of fun. The 11-year-old, who is on the autism spectrum, also met his favorite player, Devin McCourty. 

The two played catch while Jaxxon wore a custom Patriots jersey with McCourty's number. The Pro Bowl safety gifted his young fan a pair of game-worn cleats. And if that wasn't enough, Patriots owner Robert Kraft called Jaxxon to wish him a happy birthday.

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McCourty has long been a champion in the New England community. He was part of the effort to free William Allen, a 21-year-old man who was imprisoned for first-degree murder. Allen's conviction and sentencing was deemed unfair and he was released earlier this month after more than 20 years behind bars. McCourty later invited Allen to be a special guest at the Patriots practice.

The three-time Super Bowl winner also received the 2022 Leader of Change award by local organization Trinity Boston Connects. 

"The Leader of Change Award recognized an individual who is making deep impact in helping to create a more just and equitable Boston through critical and sustainable change," Trinity Boston Connects said in a statement. "In addition to his athletic accolades, Devin has positively influenced the internal culture of the Patriots organization while also making sustainable impact on social justice and racial equity issues at the federal, state, and local levels."

McCourty was also honored at the 15th Annual Bostonians for Youth Gala for his work in social justice and education.