After Tragedy, a Bright Spot for Georgia 12-Year-Old

Taeden Johnson, who lost his family, is going to the Super Bowl
By Luke Roney,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 6, 2021 12:04 PM CST
After Tragedy, a Bright Spot for Georgia 12-Year-Old
The Atlanta Falcons' Grady Jarrett looks on during the first half of an NFL football game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Sunday, Jan. 3, 2021.   (AP Photo/Kevin Sabitus)

Taeden Johnson has aspirations to play in the NFL. But he has never had the chance to go to a game. That will change Sunday when the 12-year-old from Athens, Ga., attends Super Bowl LV. Johnson found out he is going to the big game during a Friday interview with CBS This Morning. “The NFL and the Falcons is going to take real good care of you this year. You just have a memorable time,” Atlanta Falcons defensive end Grady Jarrett told Johnson during the call, per CBS. The tickets are a bright spot amid tragedy: A Jan. 27 house fire killed Johnson’s mother, grandmother, and sister, WXIA reports. Johnson escaped from the burning mobile home and tried to rescue his family, per the Atlanta Journal Constitution.

Since then, the community has rallied around the boy. A GoFundMe campaign for his future expenses had raised more than $224,000 as of Saturday. After hearing that he would be going to the Super Bowl, Johnson told Jarret that he wanted to play in the NFL. “Yes, sir, you can do it,” Jarrett said, advising Johnson to work hard and maintain good grades. “Just gotta believe in yourself,” Jarrett said. The NFL is providing two Super Bowl tickets and the Falcons are covering transportation and accommodations, the team said in a statement. (More uplifting news stories.)

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