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05/02/2017 11:44 am ET

Football Player Who Befriended Boy With Autism Signed To NFL Team

The news came just days after the athlete's father was killed by an allegedly accidental gunshot.

It has been an emotional time for Travis Rudolph.

Just days after his father was killed by an allegedly accidental gunshot wound, the Florida State University football player took a major step toward making his NFL dreams a reality.

Rudolph signed a contract with the New York Giants after he went unchosen during this year’s NFL draft, CBS reported.

Florida State Seminoles wide receiver Travis Rudolph (15) carries the ball to score a touchdown.
USA Today Sports / Reuters
Florida State Seminoles wide receiver Travis Rudolph (15) carries the ball to score a touchdown.

The wide receiver gained popularity in August 2016 after a picture of him eating lunch with a boy with autism went viral. The boy, sixth-grader Bo Paske, has been rooting for Rudolph to make the NFL ever since.

Here is the photo from that first lunch together:

“Honestly, I’m just blessed to be here and I’m blessed to have my family with me supporting me throughout this process,” Rudolph told WPTV about the draft choice.

The family chose to postpone funeral services for Rudolph’s father until after the NFL draft.

Darryl Rudolph died in an allegedly accidental shooting in late April. The elder Rudolph was at Sugar Daddy’s Cabaret in West Palm Beach when an AK-47 assault rifle discharged and shot him in the neck, WPLG reported.

Paul Senat, co-owner of the club, faces a manslaughter charge in the incident.

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