Former Giants running back Brandon Jacobs, now with the 49ers after being released by New York in the off-season, was so touched by a young fan's efforts to keep him with Big Blue that he returned the favor - with interest.
Jacobs recently received a letter from 6-year-old Joseph Armento, a Giants' fan from New Jersey. The kid was so upset that the Giants couldn't afford to keep Jacobs that he emptied his piggy bank - all $3.36 - and sent it to California as a way to get Jacobs back to New York.
Jacobs was so touched by the gesture that he told Armento's mother, Julie, that he wanted to show his appreciation by not only repaying him the money, but by taking him to a local recreation spot in Boonton, N.J. So earlier this week, Jacobs took Armento and his 4-year-old brother, as well as Jacobs' own son, Brayden, to the Jump On In bounce house. Jacobs
"It was just us in the whole place and we were just going room to room - just bouncing and flipping all over the place, hitting each other with balls, sweating, our shirts filthy," Jacobs told Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee. "We were just dirty, stinky boys, you know?"
Jacobs also gave Armento a signed Giants' helmet that read: "To Joe: Thanks for being a fan. God bless, Brandon Jacobs.
Julie Armento said she had sent the letter in March shortly after the 49ers had signed Jacobs to a one-year contract. The letter initially went to Candlestick Park, where the 49ers play their home games. But the team practices in Santa Clara, Calif., so Jacobs didn't get the letter until recently.
"When we first spoke, he said that he was genuinely touched by the letter, that it almost brought him to tears," Julie told the newspaper. "He said it came at just the right time for him."
Said Jacobs: "I'm at a point in my career when people have stopped believing in me and not believing that I can still play. But that's not the case. Joe believes in me, gave me a lot of confidence and a lot of want-to. And I'm ready to go. I can't wait until the season starts."
Jacobs said he wanted to give Armento more than the $3.36 he had donated to make a point.
"He had some interest in there just for being a good kid," Jacobs said. "He's worth a lot more than that $5 bill I gave him."