Family of fallen NFL star gives youth football team a boost

CHESTERFIELD (WWBT) - They have been around for more than 50 years and thanks to the help of one generous donor, they may be around even longer.

Tara Morgan first told you the story of the Bellwood Bulldogs. The Chesterfield Youth Football Team is in danger of having to call their season off because of a heavy debt. But one family was so touched by these kids, they called 12 immediately. The family of former Super Bowl winner Corey Smith happened to be watching.

Smith was lost at sea in a tragic accident in 2009. Today his family chose to honor his memory, by helping the Bulldogs.

Make no mistake it was a happy moment, but it was a moment born out of incredible sadness.

"Maybe my son, you know he came to me and told me to do this," said Barbara Ann Smith.

Smith's son, Corey had the world in front of him. He was 29-years-old and was already a Super Bowl champion. The John Marshall High School grad had plenty of NFL football in front of him. But a simple fishing trip in 2009 ended everything. The boat he was on with several teammates mysteriously overturned. His body never found, his mother and sister left behind.

"I just did it from the heart," said Smith, thinking back on her son. "Because I know he loved football."

Fast forward to Thursday night, on a sleepy field with a rag tag team, a team in need of a boost, and a family with the means and the desire to help.

"It's what it is going to do, that is what counts," said Smith of her family's gesture. "This is what he would want us to do."

In memory of her son, Smith cut a $2,000 check to the Bellwood Bulldogs. It is a check that cuts a huge $8,000 debt, by 25 percent. It is a check that will go a long way to helping this little team survive.

"I can't believe how this is going to help all those kids, get to play football this year," said Dale Thompson, the Bulldogs' head coach. "This is the best gift we could've got, it really is."

And for a mom who spends every day missing a son that won't ever return, it eases the pain, if only for a moment.

"It just came out of my heart, I didn't think about nothing else or nothing I needed to do or anything" said Smith.

It is a boost for a team that might just count among their ranks, a future Super Bowl champion.

And the team still needs your help. They will hold a week-long fundraiser starting on Saturday.

*Yvette Yeon contributed to this report.

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