NFL kicker Garrett Hartley was released by the New Orleans Saints in December of 2013. In December of this year, he was picked up by the Cleveland Browns, where he kicked a couple of field goals and an extra point against the Carolina Panthers. No one really knew that he had delivered the eulogy for his baby daughter just two days before.
As reported by Cleveland.com, Hartley didn’t pray when scoring against the Panthers and didn’t make any huge notice that he was looking to the sky. He simply knew that Hinsley Rose Hartley was watching.
“I had a guardian angel looking over me.”
Hartley didn’t reveal a whole lot of what happened in his life, after the Browns lost to the Panthers. Obviously, it was a trying experience for him, but he did give out a few details.
He said that Olivia Ruby, his girlfriend, was seven months pregnant when she experienced unexpected complications on November 26. After arriving at a hospital in New Orleans, his Hartley’s girlfriend was given just a 10 percent chance of survival.
She ended up spending six days in the intensive care unit and three additional days in the hospital after that. Hartley said Ruby was “still recovering, getting a little better every day.”
— Garrett Hartley (@GHartley5) December 21, 2014
For those who may not remember, NOLA reminded everyone that Garrett Hartley was the hero who hit a field goal in overtime to send the New Orleans Saints to the Super Bowl back in 2010. He also had an impressive showing in the big game, as he hit three field goals longer than 40 yards.
Hartley was just signed by the Browns on December 13, and the team was fully aware of his loss at the time. He was allowed to return to New Orleans last week and then reunite with the team for the trip to play the Carolina Panthers.
While he may have never been able to officially meet his daughter, Hartley delivered a eulogy describing how happy she had made both him and Ruby over seven months.
“A rose by any other name would smell as sweet but Hinsley Rose is the sweetest,” he wrote on a social media account. “The service was without question one from a best selling novel, from the flowers to the intricate wood work on her casket. With our family and friends by our side, we managed to get through the trailing day. We were so blessed to have her for the short seven months that we did.”
During the eulogy, he spoke of her little kicks and the “priceless” pictures they have of her inside Olivia’s tummy.
Garrett Hartley said he isn’t sure why his daughter is gone already, but the incident has brought he and his girlfriend together. Yes, the new Browns’ kicker may be sad, but he knows that his daughter is now “in God’s hands.”
[Image via David Richard – Associated Press]