Cardinals linebacker Jesse Luketa scores ride to Sunday’s game with Phoenix family after blowing a tire… and he’s rewarding them with tickets

  • Luketa was 30 minutes away when he blew a tire and pulled into a gas station
  • It was there he discovered the Phillips family dressed in Cardinals gear  
  • provides all the latest international sports news

The Arizona Cardinals’ Jesse Luketa got a free ride to his Week 12 game against the Los Angeles Rams – and made a few friends along the way – on what could have been disastrous Sunday for the special teams player. 

Luketa, a 24-year-old Canadian, had only 30 minutes remaining in his drive to State Farm Stadium in Glendale when he blew a tire, he told He stopped at a north Phoenix gas station to try and pump air back into it, but when that failed, he started considering his options.

Pressed to make it in time for pregame warm-ups, Luketa approached a family all dressed in Cardinals jerseys and asked for a ride.

‘As I’m sitting there, I look to my right, I see a family, they’re in Cardinals gear,’ the Edmonton native told reporters. 

‘It looks like they’re going to the stadium, so I’m like, I absolutely have nothing to lose. I put my window down, and I just yell out, ”You guys going to the stadium?”’

Jesse Luketa was 30 minutes away when he blew a tire and pulled into a gas station on Sunday

Although large at 6-foot-3 and 252 pounds, Luketa did not initially come off as an NFL player.

‘At first, they didn’t believe I was a player, and I was like, ”Yeah, I’m a player; I need to get to the stadium,”’ Luketa said.

The Phillips family made room in its car for him.

‘Honestly, at the end of the day, we were just trying to help somebody out. It wasn’t the fact that he played football or didn’t,’ said 31-year-old J.W. Phillips.

The Phillipses were able to watch their new friend make a tackle and recover a fumble during the 37-14 loss to the Rams.

To show his appreciation, Luketa is giving the family tickets to the Cardinals’ December 17 home game against the San Francisco 49ers.

Luketa (right) pictured playing special teams during Sunday's 37-14 loss to the visiting Rams

Luketa (right) pictured playing special teams during Sunday’s 37-14 loss to the visiting Rams 

Luketa’s path to the NFL began in Canada. The Edmonton-born son of a single mother from the Congo, he grew up in Ottawa until the age of 14 when he enrolled in a Pennsylvania high school.

‘He is just the nicest human being,’ J.W. told The Athletic. ‘The kids were giving fantasy football updates and who scored. They asked him how he went to college and where he played. We talked about how he’s from Canada [and] about his family. He’s just very genuine and sincere.’ 

But as taken as the Phillips family was with Luketa, he was even more enamored with them. 

‘Good people still exist!’ Luketa wrote on X. 

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