*Former Carolina Panthers wide receiver Steve Smith on Thursday surprised the 7-year-old boy whose tearful reaction to his release from the Carolina Panthers went viral.
Smith, who signed with the Baltimore Ravens 24 hours after being cut by Carolina a week ago, surprised Gavin Simone on ABC’s “Good Morning America” with a hug and the first “Smith Sr” No. 89 Ravens jersey.
Smith sought out Simone on social media after seeing a video filmed by the child’s father when he told him Smith had been released.
“It touched me a little bit,” Smith said Tuesday on ESPN Radio’s “Mike & Mike” show. “He was balling. He had the ugly face cry.”
So Smith set up the surprise meeting with Simone on GMA.
Smith came up with the idea to put Smith Sr. on the back of his jersey this season when he and his wife discovered they were going to have his namesake. There were no indications at the time the Panthers would cut their all-time leading receiver. Speculation about that didn’t begin until a few weeks ago, and it became reality last Thursday.
That’s when Simone’s dad filmed the video that went viral.