Chalk up another great moment to the pomp and circumstance of the NFL draft.
Friends of Ezra Castro, a Buffalo Bills superfan nicknamed “Pancho Billa,” launched a Twitter campaign to ask the team if Castro, battling cancer, could announce one of the draft selections in Dallas.
The team couldn’t swing it, representatives said, but offered instead to allow Castro to lead the Bill’s cheering section, 50 people strong, with front row seats at the draft. Castro, who has attended Bills games for years dressed in Latin American themed regalia, graciously accepted.
When former Bills players Fred Jackson and Andre Reed stepped to the podium to announce Buffalo’s third-round pick, TV cameras zoomed in on Castro having the time of his life in a blue, sequined sombrero.
Then Jackson paused as he leaned over the microphone.
“Ezra,” he called out, as AT&T Stadium went quiet. “Pacho Billa, can you please join us on stage.”
Cameras flashed back to Castro, shaking his fists and sobbing as he waded through a crowd toward the dais. He shook hands and hugged both Bills greats, and took a photo with the Buffalo jersey they stood ready to hand to the franchise’s newest member.
Jackson tapped him on the shoulder as Castro started to turn to go back to his seat.
“Why don’t you announce the pick?” he said.
Castro obliged, drafting Harrison Phillips, a defensive tackle from Stanford, for “our” Buffalo Bills, his voice quivering with emotion, resolve and still a calling to fulfill.
“Viva los Bills!” he cried.
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