RENTON, Wash. (AP) — Trevone Boykin was inundated with congratulatory messages in the hours after making his regular-season debut as an NFL quarterback.
For his first NFL experience stepping in for the Seattle Seahawks after Russell Wilson was injured last Sunday. For throwing his first NFL touchdown on a fourth-quarter pass to Doug Baldwin.
Of all the congratulations sent to Boykin, though, one message in particular stood out. It came from Steve Faber, the father of Abby Faber. And if Abby’s name doesn’t sound familiar, that’s understandable.
But she is special to Boykin.
“It was probably one of the texts I will remember more than anything,” Boykin said Wednesday.
Abby Faber is a 7-year-old with cerebral palsy who first met Boykin at the 50-yard line in Ames, Iowa last October . When TCU played at Iowa State last year, Faber was an honorary captain and was wearing a Cyclones jersey for the pregame coin toss. Boykin, the TCU quarterback, leaned down toward the girl in her wheelchair and asked, “What’s your name?” Fort Worth Star-Telegram photographer Paul Moseley took a touching picture of the two that went viral.
Even though they were there as Iowa State fans, the Faber family has remained connected to TCU. They were in Fort Worth, Texas, two weeks ago when the Horned Frogs played the Cyclones and Abby had a chance to reconnect with Boykin via FaceTime.
So it stuck with Boykin when the message came up from the Fabers on Sunday congratulating Boykin on completing 7 of 9 passes for 65 yards in the 37-18 win over San Francisco and for what he’s accomplished in becoming an NFL quarterback.
“It hit home hard just because seeing what she goes through and they support me and everything,” Boykin said. “It’s fun. I love playing the game. I love doing this. I wouldn’t change it for a world.”
Boykin could find himself in a bigger spotlight come Sunday when the Seahawks play at the New York Jets. Coach Pete Carroll said Wednesday that he’s moving forward with the idea that Wilson will be able to play despite spraining the MCL in his left knee during the third quarter last week.
Still, there is a real possibility that Boykin will get significant playing time against the Jets.
“I went into practice last week just like I’ll go into practice this week expecting to play. If not, I’ll be ready,” Boykin said.
Backup quarterback was a major question mark for Seattle during training camp. The Seahawks had the luxury of an experienced veteran in Tarvaris Jackson playing behind Wilson the past three seasons. But Carroll wanted someone who was more of a running threat, similar to Wilson. He didn’t want to have to adjust the offense if the backup came in.
Boykin fit the bill, signing with Seattle as an undrafted free agent after sliding out of the draft in part because of his arrest in San Antonio in the days before the Alamo Bowl. It turned out to be another coup for Seattle. Boykin impressed enough throughout training camp and the preseason that Seattle felt comfortable going with the rookie instead of having a veteran backup.
“We thought it was a guy who could do what he’s doing. I was kind of open to it from the start. I really wanted this to happen. I really wanted him to be the guy. I really wanted to get a backup quarterback that could keep us in the same system so we could really utilize the same run game principles as well as the passing style,” Carroll said. “He looked like a perfect opportunity there.”
Boykin made one mistake in his regular-season debut, throwing a fourth-quarter interception, but otherwise looked like a capable option if Wilson isn’t available.
“Most of the motivation came from Russ,” Boykin said. “He came in his rookie year and like he said, he just tried to be the best him he can be. That’s how I’m trying to do (it) is be the best me I can be and learn from him.”
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