By: Will Burge
Everyone should have a date to their senior prom. Not everyone gets to have their date be a Pro-Bowl caliber NFL cornerback. Browns’ star Joe Haden is making that dream a reality for one Independence High School Senior. Haden will be accompanying Joyce Grendel for one of the most memorable days of her life.
“I didn’t have a prom date so I decided just to ask (Haden) just to see what he would say,” said Joyce. “So I wrote him (on twitter) and he replied right away. It’s just really exciting.”
People ask celebrities for retweets or mentions on twitter all the time but rarely get a response. Showing up in a celebrity’s timeline is the new autograph. With so many people requesting the digital age’s autograph, Joyce admits she did not think Joe would say yes.
“Honestly, no! I knew he was a like a really nice guy but I just thought he would be too busy,” said Joyce. “When he said yes I was like the happiest person on earth.”
This act of kindness will only strengthen the bond between Haden and the Browns’ fan base. Joe has quickly become a fan favorite by attending Indians’ and Cavs’ games and interacting with fans in person and on twitter. Haden is certainly not afraid of contact with his admirers, but this takes it to another level all together.
“I’m a huge Browns fan,” said Joyce. “My dad is a season ticket holder and I have two brothers who both love the Browns.”
As members of Browns Nation, the Grendel family is obviously excited. They are not the only ones who can’t wait for Friday’s festivities at Windows on the River, however. Joyce says her entire school, including the faculty, has been talking about Haden coming to prom.
“At first they didn’t believe it, but then they were all really excited,” said Joyce. “The teachers are excited too. My principal and superintendant are even ecstatic about it!”
Haden won’t just go through the motions either. He is planning on going to Joyce’s house for pictures and then his security will drive him, Joyce, and another couple to the prom.
The night will have a special place in Joe’s heart as well.
When it came time for him to attend his senior prom in Friendly, Maryland Joe could not share the magical night with the rest of his class. Haden, who was the No. 3 athlete in the nation according to Rivals.com, committed to the University of Florida and enrolled early to play spring football. While it gave him a head start on the gridiron, it also took away a staple of the “normal” teenage life.
Just as much as Haden is making Joyce’s dream come true, Joyce is doing the same for Joe. So while everyone else at the Independence prom will just be excited to hang out with a NFL player, the couple in the spotlight will always share something much deeper. They will share the memories of their senior prom.
Will Burge covers the Browns for ESPNCleveland.com and hosts 3 Deep, Monday - Friday from 7pm-9pm.
Follow Will on Twitter @WillBurge
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