Cardinals linebacker Jesse Luketa scores ride to Sunday’s game with Phoenix family after blowing a tire… and he’s rewarding them with tickets
- Luketa was 30 minutes away when he blew a tire and drove into a gas station
- There he discovered the Phillips family dressed in Cardinals gear
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Jesse Luketa of the Arizona Cardinals got a free ride to his Week 12 game against the Los Angeles Rams — and made a few friends along the way — on what could have been a disastrous Sunday for the special teams player.
Luketa, a 24-year-old Canadian, had just 30 minutes to go on his way to State Farm Stadium in Glendale when he suffered a flat tire. told AZfamily.com. He stopped at a gas station in North Phoenix to try to get air back into it, but when that didn’t work, he started considering his options.
Forced to be on time for pre-game warmups, Luketa approached a family dressed entirely in Cardinals jerseys and asked for a ride.
“As I’m sitting there, I look to my right, I see a family, they’re in Cardinals gear,” the Edmonton native told reporters.
“It looks like they’re going to the stadium, so I’m like, I have absolutely nothing to lose. I roll down my window and just shout, “Are you going to the stadium?”
Jesse Luketa was 30 minutes into the drive when he blew a tire and drove into a gas station on Sunday
Although she was tall at 6-foot-4 and 252 pounds, Luketa didn’t initially come across as an NFL player.
“At first they didn’t believe I was a player, and I thought, ‘Yes, I am a player; I have to go to the stadium,” Luketa said.
The Phillips family made room for him in the car.
“Honestly, at the end of the day we were just trying to help someone. It wasn’t about him playing football or not,” said 31-year-old JW Phillips.
The Phillipses were able to watch their new friend make a tackle and recover a fumble during the 37-14 loss to the Rams.
To show his appreciation, Luketa gives the family tickets to the Cardinals’ home game on December 17 against the San Francisco 49ers.
Luketa (right) imagined herself playing special teams during Sunday’s 37-14 loss to the visiting Rams
Luketa’s path to the NFL began in Canada. The Edmonton-born son of a single mother from Congo grew up in Ottawa until he entered a high school in Pennsylvania at the age of 14.
“He’s just a really nice person,” JW said The Athletics. “The kids gave fantasy football updates and who scored. They asked him how he got to college and where he played. We talked about him being from Canada [and] about his family. He’s just very sincere and sincere.”
But as taken as the Phillips family was with Luketa, he was even more in love with them.
‘Good people still exist!’ Luketa wrote on X.