|Fans rally support for Bills' Everett after injury|
|Written by Admin|
|Tuesday, 11 September 2007 11:06|
BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) -There's no shortage of J.P. Losman's No. 7 or Lee Evans' 83 among the Buffalo Bills fans who wear their loyalty on their backs.|
Look for No. 85 to make a showing in the bleachers of Ralph Wilson Stadium the next time the Bills play at home, a show of support for injured tight end Kevin Everett.
As Everett remained hospitalized Tuesday with a severe spinal cord injury, fans shaken by news the 25-year-old may never walk again filled Internet message boards with prayers and looked for ways to show their concern.
In Port Arthur, Texas, ``K.E.'' armbands will be part of the uniform for Memorial High's football players, who trained at a camp run by Everett in his hometown over the summer.
``Every single kid that's in our program went to the Kevin Everett football camp,'' said Kenny Harrison, Memorial's offensive coordinator and one of Everett's former coaches.
``He gave free T-shirts to all the kids, fed the kids,'' Harrison said. ``It was a real professional camp and he was real active in the camp. He was right there, hands on.''
Mike Galati designed T-shirts and caps with Everett's No. 85 to sell online, with proceeds going to the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation, founded by the late actor to fund research on spinal cord injuries.
The idea came from a fan's electronic posting suggesting Bills fans rally together and wear Everett jerseys at future home games, said Galati, a Bills season ticket holder who lives in Cincinnati.
``I thought that it was a great idea, but impractical. While most people want to show their support in some way, a $70 jersey is not practical or possible for a lot of people,'' he said. Galati priced his hats and shirts at cost and added $2 for the Reeve Foundation. They sell for around $15 to $20.
``I definitely think that it is a priority of this franchise and its fans to let Kevin and his family know that we're behind him and always will be,'' he said.
With supporters asking where to send cards and how to get messages to the player injured in the team's season opener Sunday, Bills spokesman Scott Berchtold said team officials were meeting to decide how to pass along the overwhelming support to Everett and his family.
Matthew Johnson of Shortsville, southeast of Rochester, was selling black and white pins with the No. 85 layered over Everett's initials, saying he was more interested in giving people a way to show their support than making a profit.
``There needed to be something that people could use in the real world or at tailgates or the game,'' said Johnson, whose pins sell in packs of five for $5. ``As for making a profit, it just wouldn't feel right. I couldn't imagine benefiting from something as tragic as this.''
Associated Press Sports Writer John Wawrow contributed to this report.
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