An Alabama family is desperately hoping to recover a New Orleans Saints jersey that belonged to a relative who was a big fan of the team and died in an automobile crash earlier this year.
Jennifer Harper, of Mobile, has been draping the No. 9 Drew Brees jersey worn by her late son over the stadium chair in Section 121, Row 13 of the Superdome this season, NOLA.com reported. Jennifer Harper and her family have been season-ticket holders and have traveled to Saints home games from Mobile for 35 years, the website reported.
Bobby Harper Jr., 30, stood out as a fan. He was 6 feet, 7 inches with red hair and a red beard, WWL-TV reported. An emergency nurse, the younger Harper was killed in a single-vehicle crash Jan. 18 in Baldwin County, Alabama, WALA reported.
“He was on his way to help a co-worker who was stranded when he was killed in the car accident,” Jennifer Harper told WWL.
Sunday, after the Saints lost to the San Francisco 49ers, Jennifer Harper said she packed the jersey away, but it was gone by the time she reached the parking lot, NOLA. com reported.
“I think and assume someone took it out of the bag,” Bobby Harper Sr. told WWL. “It was an easy pick, they probably took it for a souvenir."
Family members just want the jersey back. They have been hanging it over Bobby Harper Jr.'s chair all season long.
“That was his, it still has his smells,” Bobby Harper Sr. told WWL. “We know he wore it at every game. It would be great to get back.”
“It would mean the world to me, it’s just part of our tradition,” Jennifer Harper told the television station.
Chelsea Hale, who is dating Bobby Harper’s younger brother, posted an appeal on Facebook to get the jersey back.
“Hello everyone,” she wrote. “I am aware of the power that social media platforms can have and I would like to ask for your help. There were a lot of people in attendance and I just wanted to reach out and ask for shares so that maybe just MAYBE someone sees this post and can get the jersey returned to his family."
Meanwhile, Saints officials have reached out to the Harper family to offer a new jersey, signed by Brees, WWL reported.