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Patriots rookie class visits Boston Children’s Hospital

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Darren McCollester/Getty Images for Boston Children’s Hospital

The NFL offseason is in full swing, but that does not mean players and coaches will be inactive until training camp opens in late July. Quite the opposite actually, especially when it comes to doing work off the field — something the New England Patriots’ rookies experienced last week: the world champions’ first-year players made a day trip to Boston that included a visit to Boston Children’s Hospital.

The Patriots’ rookie class, which makes the trip to the hospital on an annual basis, helped patients and staff prepare decorations for a party before visiting individual rooms. A group of New England’s 2019 draft picks — N’Keal Harry, Joejuan Williams, Chase Winovich, and Jarrett Stidham — visited patients ranging from 11 months to 21 years old who were either waiting for transplants or have already received them

“These kids are some fighters,” Williams, who was drafted in the second round in April, told patriots.com. “It definitely humbles me, and it definitely makes me be grateful for the things that I have and what I’ve been through because there’s always somebody that’s going through a little bit worse than you. Just coming here and seeing them smile and trying to make their day, that was definitely the best experience.”

Running back Damien Harris, who was part of a different group spending time with patients, also used the visit for some reflection. “Sometimes we take things for granted and we don’t really see a big picture how fortunate we are. Doing things like this and seeing what other people go through and being able to provide them with some joy, whether it’s two minutes or whatever, it’s a great opportunity for us,” said the third-round rookie.

New England’s rookies visiting Boston Children’s Hospital was not just a memorable day for the young patients, however, but also for the players themselves as the aforementioned Jarrett Stidham pointed out:” I think the coolest thing is, obviously, we were all here together, but I think all of us — especially us four since we were a group — we go through a lot of different struggles, whether it’s in the middle of the season or a workout or whatever it may be.”

“Some of these kids are fighting for their lives, so it just gives you a whole new perspective,” continued Stidham, who heard his name called in the fourth round of this year’s draft. The rookie quarterback went on to share his thoughts on how the visit to the hospital will touch him and his fellow teammates moving forward. “I think doing it together, we’ll be able to reflect on this later on and really look back at it and see how big of an impact it had on us.”

Click here if you want to donate to Boston Children’s Hospital.