Giants punter Steve Weatherford's smile was genuine on Monday as he addressed scores of children at Coleman Country Day Camp in Merrick.
"This is my favorite part of being a Super Bowl champion, getting out here and sharing it with the kids," Weatherford said. "I have children, and to see their faces light up is just epic for me."
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A year ago, Weatherford's job prospects were somewhat cloudy. He wasn't retained by the Jets and was in a tight race with Matt Dodge for the Giants' punting job. Weatherford prevailed -- and now he's a Super Bowl champion having the time of his life.
Said Weatherford: "Last year at this time, I didn't know if I'd have an NFL job. Now New York has really embraced me as one of their own, and obviously the franchise is happy to have me around for another five years. The smile that you see on my face every day when I'm at work is not manufactured. That's the real deal."
The campers enjoyed Weatherford's positive attitude and several asked to wear his Super Bowl ring. He obliged.
"It takes very little effort from a guy in my position to really change their life," Weatherford said. "Whether it be just giving them food for thought and a positive message."
Weatherford played a big role in getting the Giants to the Super Bowl. Serving as the holder on the potential game-winning field goal in overtime against the 49ers in the NFC Championship Game, he fielded a low snap by Zak DeOssie and positioned the ball for a 31-yard field goal by Lawrence Tynes that gave the Giants a 20-17 victory. Then Weatherford went crazy, racing around the field and screaming that his team was going to the Super Bowl.
Camp director Ross Coleman, a lifelong Giants fan, said it was easy to ask Weatherford to make an appearance.
"We like to go after guys that are good character guys and guys who really take their responsibility to give back to the community seriously," Coleman said.
Coleman Country Day Camp, founded in 1982 by Ross Coleman's parents, George and Marla Coleman, had appearances from Yankees outfielder Brett Gardner and Mets first baseman Ike Davis the previous two years.
"It's really priceless. It's like the MasterCard commercial," Marla Coleman said of having pro athletes appear. "When a role model comes in, the kids realize that it's something they can achieve."
As for the upcoming season, Weatherford is confident that the Giants again will be a contender and isn't concerned that they won't be favored to win another Super Bowl.
Said the punter: "I think there's going to be no better feeling than repeating."