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“Had to say no to a lot of people,” Cooks said.
Yet he made sure to save two tickets for someone he deemed so inspiring that he wanted to honor him with a gift.
The Rams locker room janitor.
“The guy is special,” Cooks said here Tuesday. “He keeps our locker room in tip-top shape. He has a special soul. He’s someone I just found myself drawn to when I got there. I see him around the facility all the time.”
— Los Angeles Rams (@RamsNFL) January 24, 2019
The janitor’s name is Alfonso. The team is not releasing his last name citing privacy issues. Cooks, who is in his first year with the team after playing for, coincidentally, the Rams opponent Sunday, the New England Patriots, only knows him as a particularly diligent person and an upbeat personality.
The two aren’t especially close. Cooks doesn’t know Alfonso’s last name.
Yet when the Rams won the NFC championship, Cooks wanted to find a way to say thank you for all Alfonso does. So he offered two tickets to the game plus all travel expenses for Alfonso and his son Josh to come to Atlanta for the big game.
While some might see Cooks as a high-profile player and Alfonso as a humble janitor, Cooks considers them equals, just a couple of co-workers in an organization doing great things.
“I just thought it would be special for him to understand this is a team and he’s a part of that as well,” Cooks said. “And I wanted to make sure he is at the Super Bowl with his son to enjoy it. … I am flying him in, he’s got a hotel, he’s going to be set for the whole weekend.”
The individual gesture also speaks to the larger culture coach Sean McVay has built in L.A. There is an uncommon camaraderie within the club. The players say it shows on the field. And even a newcomer like Cooks is a leader, not just through rah-rah speeches, or his deep faith that inspires others, but the simple gestures.
“I walked by and happened to see that encounter,” wide receiver Robert Woods said of Cooks informing Alfonso about the Super Bowl trip. “That’s the type of person and teammate that he is. He’s just someone who you want as a teammate, you want as a friend.”
That’s apparently true whether you’re a fellow wideout or the guy cleaning the locker room.
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