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Pats Ninkovich helps ailing boy

Updated: May 3, 2012, 4:26 PM ET
By Alex Prewitt | Special to ESPNBoston.com

On the bottom floor of a red-brick art gallery adjacent to the football field on the campus of Tufts University, the New England Patriots linebacker knelt beside a wheelchair and touched the arm of his 8-year-old friend.

Rob Ninkovich lowered his 6-foot-2, 255-pound frame, meeting the eye level of Riley Roman, a South Hadley, Mass., resident suffering from a crippling illness yet blessed with an indomitable spirit.

Together they smiled.

Buoyed by an unrelenting ...

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