Considering he was cut in training camp by the Browns, Jets wide receiver David Nelson wouldn't be human if he didn't take extra satisfaction from catching two touchdown passes from Geno Smith in the Jets' 24-13 victory over Cleveland Sunday at MetLife Stadium.
"You could say that,'' Nelson said with a smile.
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But truth be told, Nelson had something a lot better than the revenge angle going for him. He was playing for two orphaned boys from Florida, Davion Only and Taylor Diaz, who were his holiday guests in New York City.
Only recently became a cause celebre when he spoke to a church congregation in St. Petersburg, Fla., and pleaded for a family to adopt him. The 15-year-old was born in prison, spent his entire life in foster care and was orphaned in June when his mother died.
"I took them around New York City [Saturday] and gave them a little crash course in Christmas in the city,'' Nelson said. "They were on the sidelines before the game today and in the stands during the game.
"I asked Davion if there was anything I could do for him to let him know he's in my heart and that I was playing for him today. He told me to point to the sky after my first catch. My first catch just happened to be a touchdown, and I made sure to point to the sky.''
The Jets trailed 10-0 before Nelson caught a 6-yard TD pass. Nelson's 5-yard TD reception early in the fourth quarter put the Jets ahead for good at 17-10. They also got 109 rushing yards on 20 carries from Chris Ivory to go with Smith's 20-for-36 passing for 214 yards. Smith ran for a 17-yard TD and the Jets converted 12 of 18 third downs.
"We established our running game, and it opened up the passing game,'' Nelson said. "The biggest thing was the way Geno managed the game. So many times this year, we've been down 10 or 15 points, and he kind of forces the issue and tries to make a 14-point play. Today he took what the defense gave him. He was the star of the game.''
Nelson, who runs a nonprofit organization called "I'mME'' to aid orphaned children, undoubtedly was the star to Only and Diaz.
"Davion is a 15-year-old kid who just wants a family,'' Nelson said. "To hear his perspective on life and the things he holds dear to his heart truly inspired me. I was extremely grateful I played the way I did for him.''