JERSEY CITY, N.J. (CBS4) – Several Denver Broncos players are from New Jersey, but for defenseman Robert Ayers, he actually grew up in the town where both Super Bowl teams have been staying this week.
“It definitely is (a homecoming),” said Ayers, referring to spending the past week in Jersey City.
“Our team hotel is literally a mile from the house where I was born and grew up at, so it’s a special occasion for me.”
Ayers went back to his elementary school — Sacred Heart School — to meet with and talk to some students. He also handed out winter coats to some students.
“Do you feel like you need to be a role model for the guys growing up, that, hey, this is what can become of playing?” CBS4’s Tom Helmer asked Ayers.
“Yeah, I definitely hope that someone that grew up in the situation, in the area that I grew up in, and faced the hard times that I faced, that they can look at me and say ‘He made it,’ ” Ayers said.
Ayers said he had some challenges growing up, and that his parents helped him through what was sometimes a rough neighborhood.
“I was blessed with great parents, that as hard as I tried to go the wrong way, they kept me straight, so I have to give a lot of credit to them. I was able to overcome some things, and make some tough decisions for me to get out of that area, because at times it did overwhelming.
The Broncos are playing the Seattle Seahawks in Super Bowl XLVIII at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J.