Whenever the Houston Texans play at home, Sabrina Greenlee, the mother of DeAndre Hopkins, sits in the same spot in the end zone, close enough to the field.
When NFL star DeAndre Hopkins scores a touchdown, he has a tradition that goes beyond a typical celebration dance. During his time with the Houston Texans, the wide receiver would physically bring the touchdown ball to his mother, Sabrina Greenlee.
DeAndre lets his mom feel the ball because she cannot see. She lost her vision nearly 20 years ago after an attack almost took her life.
Even though Sabrina is unable to see, she still attends each of her son’s matches to support him. She sits close enough to the field to at least hear the ball hit the turf.
The Arizona Cardinals are trading wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins, and a deal could occur in the next few days as free agency begins.
According to Fowler, Hopkins’ age and his suspension last season after testing positive for a banned performance-enhancing substance are concerning.
DeAndre’s journey to NFL stardom was remarkable, but the story of his mother’s perseverance following her accident has also been remarkable.
How did Sabrina lose her vision?
Sabrina Greenlee was not born blind and was perfectly normal before a terrible tragedy befell her.
When the 28-year-old football star was just 10, his mom was the victim of an acid attack. At that time, Sabrina, DeAndre, and her three other children lived in South Carolina.
DeAndre’s father, Steve Hopkins, died in a car accident when DeAndre was just a baby.
According to an ESPN feature, Sabrina had been in and out of abusive relationships at the time of the terrible acid attack.
On the morning of July 20, 2002, Sabrina woke up and noticed her car was missing from her driveway. She suspected that her then-boyfriend had taken it, and she went to the address her boyfriend provided as his residence.
When she arrived at that address, a woman, later identified as Savannah Grant, opened the door and threw a combination of bleach and lye on Sabrina’s face.
Sabrina did not know her, but she later learned that her attacker Savannah had also been dating the same man. The acid almost killed Sabrina, and she was airlifted to a burn unit at a hospital in Georgia.
She spent time in a medically induced coma there and suffered severe burns on her face, chest, and back.
After several weeks in the hospital, Sabrina was finally released. Because she could not see, she had to quit her job at an automotive plant.
Initially fearful of attending her son’s football games for fear that others would stare at her burns, DeAndre was persistent in taking his mom with him.
“I’ve not always been your typical role-model mother, and he still respects me enough to let everybody see him give me that ball. That ball symbolizes so much more than people ever could understand,” Sabrina told ESPN regarding what it means for DeAndre to give her the football in front of the crowds.