Shedding the spotlight: Cardinals’ Gresham downplays airport act of kindness

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TEMPE, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -

Jermaine Gresham knew the questions were coming but that didn’t make the affable tight end any more comfortable.

“I’m not really a media guy," said Gresham Monday as the Cardinals opened another week of OTAs. “It was just crazy. I really wasn’t expecting it but it was just crazy.”

The ‘it’ Gresham was referring to was his random act of airport kindness last week that instantly catapulted the 29-year-old into the national spotlight.

[RELATED: Woman's airport 'angel' turns out to be Arizona Cardinals' Jermaine Gresham]

By now, most know the story. While in line at the airport waiting to check in, Gresham noticed a young woman in distress in front of him at the counter.

Delilah Cassidy was in jeopardy of missing her flight. In need of a credit card and $50, Cassidy was soon bailed out by Gresham – who was quick with a smile and a swipe.

“Missing her flight would be a terrible thing to have happen,” said Gresham. “I was right there. I had my wallet in my pocket – just swipe the card - $50 – catch her flight – there wasn’t much to it.”

Maybe not, but this story was only beginning. Cassidy, not knowing at first she had been saved by an Arizona Cardinal, began to tell her tale in a series of tweets. On what was her seventh tweet, Cassidy learned and revealed that the good Samaritan was, in fact, Gresham. A quick selfie accompanied the tweet and thanks to Cassidy’s connections in the Phoenix media (she’s interned at a number of outlets), the story instantly went viral.

“My guy texted me and said, ‘you’re a viral sensation,'” said Gresham. “I was like, 'for what? I didn’t get arrested or nothing like that so, for what?'”

The story and picture were soon plastered on newscasts, websites and blogs all across the country.

[SPECIAL SECTION: Arizona Cardinals]

“I hope anybody would have done that,” said Gresham. “I just feel like this is how I was raised – with these core values – if you see somebody in distress, just help them out. Nothing more, nothing less.”

Cassidy later attempted to repay Gresham in cash but the Cardinal refused to accept her money, telling Cassidy to simply, “pay it forward."

“I said, 'I'm surprised you helped me with my Bears shirt on.' And he said, 'Aw, no, I don't have anything against the Bears or Bears fans.’ And he said, ‘You know if it was me in the airport, I would want someone to have done that for me,’" Cassidy recounted.  

It’s a tale dipped in irony for Gresham, who quit Twitter not long ago because of the social media titan’s propensity for nastiness.

“Yup,” said Gresham. “It wasn’t that it was too negative, it’s that it just wasn’t for me.” After a long pause, Gresham continued, "It’s just everybody’s opinion and I really don’t care.”

And despite Twitter’s role in his newfound fame, Gresham won’t be tweeting again anytime soon.

“I’m happy she made her flight more than anything,” said Gresham. “Seeing her smile and appreciation was worth it 10 times over.”

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