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Tuesday, June 14, 2011
Leonard Pope saves boy's life

ESPN.com news services

Kansas City Chiefs tight end Leonard Pope, whose nickname is "Champ," lived up to the moniker last weekend when he saved a 6-year-old boy from drowning in a swimming pool.

Pope I wasn't waiting on anyone else ... to try to pull him out. I just felt because I have kids of my own I would want someone to do that for my kids, also.

-- Leonard Pope

The Chiefs' backup tight end on Saturday saved the son of a longtime friend from drowning in his hometown of Americus, Ga.

"My heart dropped. It could have been any child ... I just knew I had to do something," Pope said in an interview with "ESPN First Take" on Tuesday. "I wasn't waiting on anyone else ... to try to pull him out. I just felt because I have kids of my own I would want someone to do that for my kids, also."

According to his bio on the Chiefs' website, Pope has two young daughters.

The boy's mother, Anne Moore, told the Americus Times Recorder that Pope was the only person at the party who knew how to swim. Pope said he learned how to swim when he was 9 or 10 years old.

"He saved my son's life, and I am so thankful that he was there for me and my child," she told the newspaper.

Pope jumped into the pool -- wearing all of his clothes, "cell phone, wallet and everything" -- and pulled her son, Bryson, from the water.

"I was coming out of the house, I heard Anne cry. She was like 'get, get him, he's drowning!' I couldn't see Bryson. All I could see was his fingertips at the top of the water and I couldn't see his head," Pope said.

The NFL's lockout turned out to be good fortune for Moore and her son.

"The fact that he is normally at camp and could have been in Kansas City just proved to me that he was placed here to save my son from drowning, and I thank God that he was here," she told the newspaper. "He truly lived up to his nickname 'Champ' because he was truly a champion for me and my son this past weekend."

The Chiefs are an organization that has dealt with a similar tragedy. It was 28 years ago this month that star running back Joe Delaney drowned while trying to save three children from drowning in a Louisiana pond. Two of the children died.

Information from ESPN.com AFC West blogger Bill Williamson was used in this report.