Parents wants to see their child live out his or her dreams, and in the case of Gina Padua's son Donnel Pumphrey, Jr. that meant a packed stadium, during one of the biggest sporting events of the year.
“I was down there on the field,” Padua said. “It was just emotional. I felt my son, he actually did get to live out his dream. I’m so happy for him.”
Her son, Pumphrey or D.J. for short, is a running back for the Philadelphia Eagles and now a Super Bowl champion, but he came a long way to get there.
“From when he was a little kid, to now, a grown man,” Padua said. “He actually made it happen.”
The 23-year-old Eagles rookie grew up in North Las Vegas and went to Canyon Springs High School. During his high school years, he became the Gatorade High School Football Player of the Year for Nevada. He played for San Diego State University, and during his last game for the team in the Las Vegas Bowl, D.J. set the NCAA rushing record. He was drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles in the 2017, which brought him to Super Bowl 52.
“It was surreal,” DJ Pamaran, Pumphrey’s cousin said. “You talk about these things when you’re kids, you play Madden and try to win the Super Bowl, that’s what we did with D back in the day, and just to have it come to life was an unbelievable feeling.”
Pumphrey didn’t play on the field during Sunday’s game and has been out since Sept. due to an injury, but still walks away with a Super Bowl ring and D.J.’ s family soaked up every moment of the game, from the energy in the crowd, to the halftime show.
Since the win, Padua said she’s received a flood of congratulations on social media for her son, who’s become a bit of a hometown hero in North Las Vegas.
“It’s a great feeling,” Padua said. “Everybody is just so happy for me, my son and our family.”
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