FOXBORO, Mass. (WPRI) — Quinn Miller can only hope the loudmouths who taunted her for playing football are watching now.
The Pawtucket 12-year-old football player went from unknown – to internet superstar – to guest of honor of the New England Patriots and their All-Pro cornerback Stephon Gilmore – all within a matter of weeks.
It started even before Miller was featured on Street Stories, when Gilmore tweeted his support for her love of football in the face of bullies who she said made fun of her for “playing a boys game.”
At first, Miller thought Gilmore’s tweet about two weeks ago was fake.
“I thought my mom was lying just to get me downstairs to see the tweets,” she said.
But soon after his tweet, the media began asking the All-Pro about the Pawtucket 7th-grader.
“She should be happy and not let anything affect her on the outside. And happy to go to school and be happy to play sports,” Gilmore said. “Women can play anything they want to play.”
The big moment came Saturday with Miller posed near the Patriot’s podium in the team’s media room.
In walked Gilmore, right away noticing a few similarities with the Pawtucket player.
“I like that number,” Gilmore said with a smile, referring to the number 24 on Miller’s jersey – which is also his number.
When Miller nodded her head without saying much, the All-Pro chimed in.
“Shy huh? I’m shy too,” Gilmore said.
Gilmore also offered Miller some swag, including an autographed football, passes to the Patriots Hall of Fame and tickets to Sunday’s game against the Cleveland Browns.
“Good luck. Hope you have fun at the game,” Gilmore said right before taking a few pictures with Miller and her parents. “Nice to meet you all.”
Little did Miller know, Gilmore was only part of the show. Gilmore was followed by his boss – team owner Robert Kraft.
“Stephon is a big fan of yours,” Kraft said.
“I’m proud of you,” he told her a short time later, punctuating that with a high five and another picture.
Miller’s mother Christine said another number 24 has also reached out to the family.
Retired All-Pro cornerback Ty Law, who played for the Patriots for 10 seasons, also reached out to show his support.