Glove love: Rudolph’s mitts go from scam to fundraiser

Sports

Minnesota Vikings tight end Kyle Rudolph (82) pulls in the game winning touchdown pass over New Orleans Saints cornerback P.J. Williams (26) during overtime of an NFL wild-card playoff football game, Sunday, Jan. 5, 2020, in New Orleans. The Vikings won 26-20. (AP Photo/Brett Duke)

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EAGAN, Minn. (AP) — In the celebratory chaos of the victorious locker room, Minnesota Vikings tight end Kyle Rudolph was approached after his game-winning touchdown catch in overtime in New Orleans by a man with a media credential asking if he could have his gloves for a charity event.

Rudolph didn’t recognize him, and actual reporters are prohibited from such requests, but he was in a good mood. Like any NFL receiver, naturally, he has dozens of pairs of gloves to spare.

“I said, ‘Absolutely. I’ll even sign them for you,’” Rudolph recalled Thursday. “So I signed them for him, gave them to him and didn’t think anything of it.”

Three days later, he was sent a screen shot of an item selling on eBay: his autographed gloves.

“I was disappointed he only tried to get $375 for them,” Rudolph said, smiling. “He could’ve probably got way more than that.”

After sharing the story Wednesday on Twitter, Rudolph eventually connected with the Vikings fan in New Jersey who bought them but hadn’t yet received the gloves. In the meantime, he took the opportunity to encourage donations to Rudolph’s favored charity, the University of Minnesota Masonic Children’s Hospital in Minneapolis. According to Rudolph, the publicity from the scam led to more than $10,000 in new donations.

“He’s going to send the gloves to the hospital to put on display,” Rudolph said.

And Rudolph, who for the third straight year was the team’s nominee for the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year award, promised to send the fan a new pair of gloves from the game Saturday at San Francisco.

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