Boy Who Sent NFL Star Jersey So Excited Pro Responded, He ‘Couldn’t Sleep’


Anthony Tarantelli, Courtesy of the Tarantelli Family

A little boy with big ambitions recently sent NFL star JJ Watt, a defensive end for the Houston Texans, his own autographed football jersey so he “will know me when I an (sic) a famous NFL player.” 

Seven-year-old son Anthony Tarantelli’s letter read: "Dear JJ: I am 7 years old. My name is Anthony Tarantelli and I am your biggest fan. People call me JJ. Because I allso play DE and TE like you I wear number 99 like you to. I was the most feared rusher in my league this year. I am sending you my atographed game jersy so you will know me when I an a famous NFL player. 99 rocks! Your friend Anthony."


Credit: Instagram/JJWatt

Of her son’s gesture, Oklahoma City mother Lauren Tarantelli, told Yahoo Parenting, “We just thought it was really cute.” So did Watt (who posted a photo of the jersey with the young flag footballer’s note on Twitter Dec. 15), the nearly 59,000 people who liked it and the 29,000 who re-tweeted it in less than two days.

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“He got everything ready on his own,” reveals Tarantelli, adding that she and her husband merely passed along the package to Anthony’s idol via a mutual friend. “After Anthony’s last game of the season, he asked me to wash his jersey. Then he laid it out on the kitchen table and wrote it out himself. We didn’t have any idea what his was doing until he told me, ‘I want to send this to JJ.”


Houston Texans’ JJ Watt. Photo: Getty Images

The adorable note got Watt’s attention right away. He applauded the aspiring pro, tweeting: “This kid has some guts… I like it.”

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But Watt didn’t stop there. When he emailed to check with the Tarantellis about posting Anthony’s note online, the Wisconsin native passed along a message of his own to Anthony. “He sent a video showing Anthony that he’d gotten the jersey and that he’d put it up in his office with all these awards,” marvels Tarantelli. “It was right there with stuff from Peyton Manning and Drew Brees!”

The video made Tarantelli cry but she says it only amped up Anthony even more. “He had a huge smile on his face,” she says. “And I mean, the kid couldn’t have had a greater day at that point either. He’d finally lost a tooth that had been falling out for ages and he reached his reading goal at school. Then to get a video from JJ Watt? He couldn’t hardly go to sleep that night. He just wants to watch it over and over again.”

Watt also told Anthony to “expect something in the mail,” and now Tarantelli says he’s checking the mailbox non-stop.

The proud mother, for her part, is just grateful she got a chance to see the stuff her son is made of. “Anthony didn’t want to ask JJ for anything,” she explains. “He just wanted JJ to know that he had influenced him to go for his dream. He didn’t ask for anything in return. I just think that is so sweet.”


Anthony Tarantelli, Courtesy of the Tarantelli Family

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