One play changes game for Sam Hubbard Foundation: $30K raised since game-winning touchdown

Bengals player made 98-yard touchdown, and fans stepped up in his name.

After celebrating his record-breaking touchdown, it’s back to business for Cincinnati Bengals defensive end Sam Hubbard.

But while Hubbard focuses on the team’s next game against the Buffalo Bills, his foundation is still celebrating. The Sam Hubbard Foundation is having arguably its best week ever after the hometown hero’s play against the Ravens wowed fans everywhere.

It’s the biggest play of Hubbard’s NFL career — in his city, for his team. He ran a fumble recovery back 98 yards for the touchdown, changing the course of the game, and eventually helped the Bengals advance to the AFC Divisional Round of the playoffs.

“It’s just really fun to watch guys who work really hard make big-time plays to win games and I texted him yesterday was like man it’s crazy you had a 98-yard touchdown in the playoffs,” said Joe Burrow. “He’s like, ‘Man, I know, it was wild,’ so it was funny.”

NFL research found Hubbard’s play is the longest fumble return touchdown in postseason history.

“He’s one of us, he’s a Midwesterner he’s a Cincinnati kid it’s like you’re supporting yourself which is awesome,” said Matt Kittell, executive director of The Sam Hubbard Foundation. “Literally, from when he was crossing the goal line, my phone was like going from 30, 40, 60 text messages of just like everyone from foundation donors, to sponsors, to friends.”

Kittell said he will look back on this play as the day the foundation changed forever. He’s been friends with Hubbard since they were kids and said it’s easy to not only get behind his buddy, but the foundation.

“When Sam does well, he always brings people with him and I think that’s the coolest thing about Sam he genuinely is that good of a guy — he’s genuinely bought into his mission,” said Kittell.

The Sam Hubbard Foundation’s mission is tackling food insecurity in the Tri-State. He’s donated to UC Health’s “Food is Medicine” program, which allows UC patients to use a food pantry, and families can also get a voucher for fresh fruits and vegetables at the Freestore Foodbank. “Hubbard’s Cupboard” also stocks schools with things like backpacks, snacks and personal hygiene products.

Kittell said late Wednesday afternoon this week alone, the foundation raised $30,000 from fan donations. Now some corporate partners and businesses are pledging to match some of that money, and when it’s all said and done, the foundation could end up raising $60,000 by the end of the week.

“That play is not only going to be cemented in Bengals history, but hopefully going to change somebody’s life along the way that we’re able to impact,” said Kittell. “It’s like we’re working for ourselves because we could easily be in their shoes so we want to do everything we can to make their lives easier and also a sense of dignity when they interact with the Sam Hubbard Foundation, it’s not a handout, it’s not a pose for a picture.”

One play is making an impact this week and for years to come.

“We want him to be able to walk into a cupboard when he’s 45 years old and still have that same meaning and that same impact on the community,” said Kittell. “I’m going to help somebody else, and I think that’s the first thought that comes to his mind after you run 98 yards, get some oxygen, get rested up and tomorrow let’s hit the ground running and make an impact for my foundation.”

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This article is from WCPO, a content partner of Cox First Media.

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