The son of a firefighter who lost his life during the 9/11 terrorist attacks in New York City is paying homage with the help of football.

Over the weekend, Patrick McSweeney, a football tight end, participated in a rookie minicamp for the New York Jets, his dad Timothy’s favorite team.

According to the NFL team’s official website, Timothy was a Jets season ticket holder and instilled the same passion for the team in Patrick, who was 9 months old at the time of his death.

Patrick told the sports organization that while he doesn’t “really have any memories of being with my father physically,” he feels connected to him through the stories about his character.

“Everyone gravitated towards him. He was always putting other people first,” said Patrick. “He was very selfless and something that I try to embody of his, it might sound cliché, but when he … ran into that building, he was attempting to save innocent people. He really didn’t care what those people looked like, what their race or religion was. He was just trying to save them.”

The athlete said his father’s selflessness is something he will always cherish, adding, “It’s important to treat everyone fairly, treat them with respect.”

Timothy, who stood at 6’3″ and joined the New York City Fire Department (FDNY) in 1987, was known as “the Big Guy” and the “Gentle Giant” due to his height, the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation states on its website.

Timothy Patrick McSweeney.


He was a member of Ladder 3 and was recognized with six awards for heroism during his time of service.

“Firefighting was a family affair: McSweeney’s father‚ Dennis‚ is a retired FDNY battalion chief‚ as was his first cousin‚ Peter Freund‚ was also died on September 11th,” the organization adds.

Patrick, the youngest of three, played football throughout college at Coastal Carolina University and the Citadel Military College of South Carolina. He credits his mother Debra’s support as the reason why he’s been able to excel in the sport since his father’s death.

Stock image of a Jets helmet.

Perry Knotts/Getty

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“That’s the only reason I’m here. I need to just keep going because now that I’ve gotten a little bit of a glimpse of what it’s like to be here, there’s nowhere else I want to be,” he told the Jets.

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