Young Eagles fan on giving Nate Sudfeld back his football: ‘He’s the player. He earned it more.’
“I knew he deserved it more than me... I was just there to watch," 10-year-old Cohen Zechman said.
Cohen Zechman will turn 11 in a couple weeks, but the young Eagles fan got an early birthday present Sunday during the fourth quarter of Philadelphia’s 24-0 win over the Washington Redskins.
Cohen, who made the three-hour trek to the game with his parents from their home in Turbotville, Northumberland County, was seated in the second row of the end zone at FedEx Field when Eagles wide receiver Nelson Agholor pulled down a 22-yard touchdown pass from third-string quarterback Nate Sudfeld, who replaced an injured Nick Foles.
After Agholor pulled down the touchdown catch — his second of the game — the boy’s father, Derrick, got the Eagles wide receiver’s attention. Agholor ran over and gave the football to an ecstatic Cohen. Unfortunately, Agholor wasn’t aware that it was Sudfeld’s first career touchdown pass, and the quarterback wanted the football.
“Yeah, I felt pretty bad, but I went up to the kid and his dad and I was like, ‘Hey it’s my first touchdown, is there any way we can switch you out?’ So we ended up getting him another ball. They were really nice about it,” Sudfeld told reporters after the game. “But I really wanted to keep the first touchdown pass.”
Despite the excitement of the moment, Cohen didn’t hesitate to give the football back to Sudfeld when he found out it was the quarterback’s first touchdown pass.
“I knew he deserved it more than me because he’s a player. I know I’d want my first touchdown pass ball back,” Cohen said. “I was just there to watch. He’s the player. He earned it more.”
“I was proud of my son," Derrick Zechman said. "He knew that means a lot, for [Sudfeld] to have his first touchdown ball.”
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Cohen didn’t have to wait long for a replacement. At Agholor’s urging, a ball boy gave the young Eagles fan a different football almost immediately. Zechman said his phone instantly blew up with text messages after Sudfeld’s negotiation with Cohen for the football was broadcast on Fox and quickly went viral.
“My phone is still buzzing," Zechman said. “People are sending me videos from ESPN. It’s crazy.”
Not only was Cohen given another official football from the game, Agholor signed the ball for the young fan, who hopes to have Sudfeld sign the football in the future. Cohen also left the game with one of Agholor’s gloves, which the wide receiver tossed over following his pregame warm-ups.
Cohen is already a die-hard Eagles fan, and spent two hours in a barber’s chair having the team’s logo shaved into the back of his head before the Super Bowl. Cohen’s favorite players are Nick Foles and Carson Wentz, but it’s the team’s 5-foot-6 running back that the young Birds fan relates to the most.
“Like any kid, he wants to play in the NFL when he grows up,” his father said. “He’s smaller, and he’s like, ‘You know, Darren Sproles is small, too. I can be like Darren Sproles.’ “
“He’s small, and he just, he just keeps going,” Cohen said. “No matter what his size is.”
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