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Saints player helps with engagement

By wire services
Published September 18, 2005

A week after Hurricane Katrina tore thousands of lives apart, a New Orleans Saint player brought two of those lives together.

Tight end Ernie Conwell was so moved by the story of a couple who had lost everything, he bought them an engagement ring before they were married at a relief shelter in San Antonio.

Conwell, whose team plays its "home" opener Monday at Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J., bought the ring at a San Antonio Wal-Mart after meeting the groom-to-be in the store and hearing his story. The man's girlfriend had recently given birth to twins and was shopping in another part of the store.

"The guy wanted to get married," Conwell said. "Here was a guy who had nothing and wanted to do the right thing. He wanted to go on with his life. He said he had some engagement rings in Louisiana but had lost them all."

The man was named Ronald Tennessee and looked to be in his late 20s. Conwell introduced himself, and they walked over to the jewelry section. The man pointed to the ring he wanted, and Conwell pulled out his credit card.

"It's one thing to give to the charity organizations," he said. "But if you can give to somebody right there in front of you it's amazing. Buying a ring isn't the same thing as giving somebody food or shelter, but it was immediate need in that man's heart."

NFL greats will answer phones for hurricane relief telethon

With some of football's greatest players accepting pledges by phone, the league will hold a telethon to raise money for Hurricane Katrina victims during two televised games Monday night.

The fundraiser will be broadcast by ABC. Telethon footage will be shown during the Saints-Giants game and the Redskins-Cowboys game.

Among those scheduled to be at the studio to answer calls and accept pledges are Hall of Famers John Elway, Bart Starr, Marcus Allen, Eric Dickerson and Steve Largent. Current players include Chad Pennington, Curtis Martin, Brian Dawkins and Dhani Jones.

GIANTS: Defensive end Michael Strahan missed practice with back spasms and was listed as questionable for Monday night's game.

[Last modified September 18, 2005, 02:15:36]


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