Tim Tebow meets amputee before game

Updated: December 24, 2011, 10:00 PM ET
Associated Press

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- Tim Tebow, meet Jacob Rainey.

The Denver quarterback whose on-field comebacks have intrigued the nation, met Rainey, whose had part of his right leg amputated after an injury in September, before the Broncos faced the Buffalo Bills on Saturday.

[+] EnlargeTim Tebow
AP Photo/Derek GeeTim Tebow took time before Sunday's game to meet with Jacob Rainey, a former prep QB who had his leg amputated after an injury.

"I'm excited, I guess, to meet someone that famous," said Rainey, the highly rated Virginia prep quarterback who was hurt in a scrimmage. "It's nice that he can take time out of his day to help other people out. I appreciate it."

Rainey was flown with his family to Buffalo to watch the Christmas Eve game by Tebow's Wish 15 foundation, which has brought a young fan to every Broncos game this year. Rainey's story has been inspirational and heartbreaking.

Regarded as a can't-miss major college prospect out of Woodberry Forrest School, Rainey suffered a severe knee injury that also severed an artery in his right leg. He underwent several operations until it was finally determined doctors had no choice but to amputate part of the leg.

It's his outlook and courage facing a life-changing incident that has so inspired family, friends and teammates.

The fact that he's taken his injury in stride, not laying blame at anyone or adapting a "why me?" attitude has drawn the attention of the likes of Alabama coach Nick Saban, who sent him a red Crimson Tide jersey with the message "Keep Fighting" on it.

Green Bay linebacker Clay Matthews also sent him an autographed jersey.

"I don't feel that inspirational," he said. "There's no point in complaining about it. It is what it is."

On Saturday, Tebow trotted off the field and met Rainey and his family just after the Broncos finished pregame warmups. The Denver QB hugged Rainey's entire contingent, and the two conversed for several minutes on the sideline.

Tebow struggled against the Bills' defense, throwing four interceptions in a 40-14 loss.

"Hopefully I get to inspire that kid or encourage him -- or just give him the opportunity to hang out with his favorite players," Tebow said.

"What happened to him is a lot worse than a win or a loss on the football field," he said. "He has one leg. I had a great opportunity to bring him here. That's something that puts everything in perspective, of how we get flustered with one game.

"Ultimately it's just a game. I'm thankful I can keep things in perspective of what really matters," Tebow said.

Lee Rainey, Jacob's father, was pleased with Tebow's generosity.

"We're just impressed with Tim, already having the foundation at such a young age, giving back to the community," Lee Rainey said. "He understands what it's all about ... not just wins and losses.

Tebow met with the family again after the game outside the visitors' locker room.

"We've always been big Tim Tebow fans before this," the elder Rainey said. "Now that he's reached out to bring Jacob up to the game, he made the effort to make a difference."


Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press

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