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Illinois pays respect to Nebraska with Sam Foltz jersey

Some things are more important than sports

Over the summer, the Nebraska football program was hit hard with the tragic loss of kicker Sam Foltz was killed in an auto accident, which also claimed the life of Michigan State punter Mike Sadler. The memories of both have continued to be honored as the college football season has rolled along through one month of play and into October. On Saturday, team captains from Illinois showed their support for the Nebraska program and Foltz with a special gift.

Illinois captain Michael Martin presented Nebraska captains with a signed Illini jersey with Foltz’s name and uniform number on it as a show of respect. In the video shared below by Nebraska, you can tell the emotions even get to Martin.

“I didn’t know [Foltz], but we know what you go through,” Martin said to the Nebraska captains at midfield prior to the game. “Sam, he wasn’t an Illini, but we love him anyway.”

This is the second time I have personally felt moved by the show of brotherhood between athletes over the death of a player. Earlier in the week, Miami Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez was killed in a boating accident in Miami. After calling off Sunday’s game in light of the death of the pitcher, the Marlins returned to the field the next day against the New York Mets for perhaps the most emotional baseball game I recall seeing since September 11. Before that game, the Marlins were joined on the field around the pitcher’s mound for a round of hand shakes and hugs with the Mets players. These two gestures by visiting teams is a warm reminder that some moments are just bigger than sports and rivalries, and if nothing else it gives you reason to believe there is good in the sports we love and follow.

The entire Big Ten paid tribute to Foltz and Sadler today with special coins to be used for the pregame coin flips. On side of the coin was an image of Foltz, the other side with Sadler.

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About the Author

Kevin McGuire
Contributor to College Football Talk on NBCSports.com. Also a contributor to Athlon Sports and The Comeback. Member of Football Writers Association of America and National Football Foundation. Follow on Twitter @KevinOnCFB.
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