CHICAGO (CBS) -- It's the story of two football players; one a former Chicago Bears star, the other a college football player from Indiana.
Former Bears defensive end Adewale Ogunleye and Wabash College long snapper Sam Long had a chance meeting more than a decade ago, when Long was a little boy. It was a brief moment – captured by a CBS 2 camera – that had a huge impact.
For 11 years, Ogunleye made his mark in the NFL, 6 of them as a stalwart on defense for the Chicago Bears, and a member of the Bears' 2006 Super Bowl team.
He said he had a special bond with the fans in Chicago.
"Getting to know what Chicago was all about, how beautiful the city was, the people are, and the fans that really truly understand and appreciate what we did in my time there – Chicago was a great experience for me," he said.
Ogunleye had a ritual after games – singling out the youngest fans in the stands, and handing them his game-worn gloves.
"I tried to put myself in the role of the fan, especially a young child, and if that were me, that would have made my day," he said.
He made the day of one young fan in 2009, and that fan has never forgotten the kind gesture.
Sam Long is now 21 years old, a junior on the football team at Wabash College, about 40 miles northwest of Indianapolis. He reached out to CBS 2 last month to see if we had video of the moment he and his brother received Ogunleye's gloves after a Bears game against the Cardinals. Sam was thrilled to find out CBS 2 had the moment on film.
CBS 2 shared the video with Long and arranged for a reunion with Ogunleye on Zoom.
"It's a very recognizable face. It's a guy I met about 15 years ago," Long said.
"He didn't have this mustache 15 years ago, I'll tell you that," Ogunleye said.
"For you to just take a brief moment to come up to me and my brother, and give us your gloves, it really just shows the type of guy you are, just how caring you are for your fans and the people who root for the Bears or root for any of the teams you played for," Long told Ogunleye.
"You make me feel good, man," Ogunleye said. "When you're in a position to do the same, you will, and that's how I want you, Sam, to make sure that you pass that down."
Long just turned 21, and said his reunion with Ogunleye is one of the best presents he's gotten.
"Thank you so much for bringing us together," Long said.
Ogunleye has had great success off the field since he retired after his final season in 2010 with the Texans. He went on to earn an MBA, and now leads the UBS Athletes and Entertainers Strategic Client Segment, helping athletes and entertainers manage their money. He has maintained ties to Chicago with his charity endeavors, recently hosting a turkey giveaway.
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