The New Orleans Saints just expanded their roster!
The NFL team signed outspoken and adorable Jarrius Robertson, 14, at an honorary ceremony Tuesday on Good Morning America.
The die-hard Saints fan has biliary atresia, a rare liver and bile duct disease that affects his physical growth. He is currently on the waiting list for a liver transplant. Jarrius, who has spent most of his life in and out of hospitals, has been a beloved intermittent presence at Saints practices over the past year — even offering some tough-love advice to football pros like quarterback Drew Brees.
“You have to be tough on them or they’re going to be soft!” Jarrius said on GMA.
“Jarrius has been to about four or five practices, and every time he comes out I get some type of coaching point,” Brees said. “We love having Jarrius out here. He’s such an inspirational young man — his strength, his attitude — and he’s welcome out here anytime.”
“We love him,” he added.
Jarrius first met the team while at Ochsner Children’s Hospital in New Orleans last year — and he left a lasting impression on the players and staff, including defensive end Cam Jordan and coach Sean Payton.
“The first time I met him he came in and really hit me with that real,” Jordan said on GMA. “He hit me with that, ‘Hey, you need to get in there, and you need to sack the quarterback. This is what you got to do. You can’t fall off, Cam. What are you doing?’ That’s just eye-opening.”
Before Jarrius “signed” with the Saints on Tuesday, coach Sean Payton spoke about the teen superfan.
“As a coach, you love it when you see someone with his energy. He is on everyone’s butt, trust me,” he said.
Jarrius, ecstatic to become an honorary member of his favorite team, also wanted to remind people of the importance of donation.
“It takes lives to save lives,” said Jarrius. “That means if people go out and donate anything like blood, organ, kidneys or liver, then they can save somebody else’s life.”