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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — A high school football player with Down syndrome is being offered the chance of a lifetime.

Brett Bowden has led the Hobbton Wildcats onto the field religiously for two seasons, even scoring a touchdown in a game. But on Friday night, his helmet sits on a bench and his shoulder pads are put away.

“That’s all he knows,” said Pat Bowden, Brett’s mother. “That’s all he’s ever done. And to take that away? It’s different. It’s like he’s not a player anymore.”

Bowden will be a junior this year at Hobbton High School in Sampson County , but he will not be able to play this season, because at 19, he is too old.

James terry, coach of the arena football team, the Reno Barons, saw Bowden’s story online. He says it really upset him and wants to give Bowden a chance to be a part of his team.

“The only qualifications in pro football is that you are 18 years of age or older,” Reno Baron head coach James Terry said. “We’re going to sign him. We’ll sign him to a pro football, professional football contract to play at our level which is about AAA.”

The Sampson County School District announced yesterday Brett can still dress out and lead the team onto the field, but he will not be allowed to play.

Terry says he wants to give Brett a chance to be a part of his team.

“I have a real opportunity here in the position that I am in football to help somebody who loves the game as much as I do, to really help a family and a young man who can get more from this than I ever did,” Terry said. “I played professionally and collegiately, and I envy this kid, because I think he gets more out of being part of this team than any of us could possibly imagine.”

Pat Bowden says she could not believe terry’s offer.

“To even offer that from a little town that we’re from, just a little tiny hole,” said Pat Bowden. “I mean words can’t describe it.”

Brett’s story has garnered some major attention. A Facebook page that his sister helped organize now has more than 60,000 fans. However, Brett doesn’t seem to care about the attention. He wants nothing more than to be a Wildcat.

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33 Comments on "ONLY ON 3: Pro football coach wants special athlete on his team"

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Mt
2016 years 2 months ago

Great story about one of the best indoor players of all time.

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Brendan
2016 years 2 months ago

Coach Terry is the Greatest

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Dan C
2016 years 2 months ago

I met Jim when we were in High School He always stood out in the crowed. He was always a positive influence on me and most people he met. Keep up the good work Jim . Dan.

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Bob Stevens
2016 years 2 months ago

I met Jim about two years ago while he was in Vegas. What an interesting young man. what an interesting career .

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Stu
2016 years 2 months ago

This is the type of person and story we need to see more of. Jim Terry is a great person for thinking of a way to make this young man happy.

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