Julian Edelman ran down the field toward the end zone, barreling past the Seahawks defense and leaping over the line for a touchdown. He leapt up and high-fived his teammate, but instead of it being Tom Brady or Chris Hogan, Julian celebrated alongside 8-year-old Dante Polito.
The two made up the Patriots in a game of Madden, while 14-year-old Tyler Brunelle and 17-year-old Carlos Leon represented the Seahawks in the video game. Though Tyler and Carlos ending up taking the L, they were more than happy to talk smack to their favorite Patriot.
Dante, Carlos and Tyler all visited Gillette Stadium on Thursday with Make-A-Wish Massachusetts and Rhode Island, all choosing to spend some time with Julian.
The guys hosted their very own press conference, were treated to lunch at Patriot Place and sat in on the day's media availability with rookies Conor McDermott, Tony Garcia and Deatrich Wise, but the highlight of the day was meeting Julian.
Dante, Tyler and Carlos entered the team auditorium, looking around and taking it all in. When Julian walked in the room silent anticipation transformed into excitement. And even more, they learned that the seats they chose are occupied by some of their favorite players in the team's daily meetings.
"Gronk sits right here," Julian said, pointing out the designated seats. "You're actually sitting in Tom Brady's seat. That's Jimmy's seat and Jacoby's."
From the auditorium, Julian and his three newest friends headed upstairs to compete in a game of Madden, and Dante's parents said the whole day was something special for their son, who was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia in 2013. Though he is now cancer free, his mother, Audrey, said days like today remind her and her family of where they have been.
"It's amazing. There are times when he was going through treatment where you wonder what he's going to be like and if he ever is going to be as healthy as he was before," Audrey said. "He is. He's thriving, playing football and having a great time. This is really special."
Before the end of the day, Julian talked with Tyler, Dante, Carlos and their families, and of course, the Super Bowl came up in conversation. He said being down by so much and coming back is an example of perseverance.
"It was an unbelievable game to be a part of," he said. "That game shows that you always have to believe regardless of the circumstances."
With this anecdote, Julian could have very easily been talking about more than a football game, and this mentality of never giving up in spite of the cards you have been dealt is one these families certainly know a thing or two about.
For more photos from the day, check out the gallery below.
The Patriots and Make A Wish of Massachusetts and Rhode Island teamed up on Thursday, May 18, 2017 to create a memorable day for three kids who wished to meet Julian Edelman. The kids got a tour of Gillette Stadium, played Madden with the Patriots WR and were also treated to special gifts from Kraft Group President-International, Dan Kraft.