Pittsburgh Steelers’ linebacker Ulysees Gilbert III showed the true meaning of holiday spirit, reportedly paying off layaways for 60 families at a Florida Burlington Coat Factory. Ocala.com has the original story and in total, UG3 reportedly spent roughly $10,000-$15,000 in paying off the debt for families in need this Christmas season.
“He (Gilbert) is a good person,” store manager Mark Shipman told the site. “You could tell he was doing it for the right reasons, out of the kindness from his heart.”
He partnered with the nonprofit “Pay Away the Layaway,” founded in 2011 and whose mission is to “inspire hope and help families pay off layaway balances that include gifts for their children, such as games, toys, books, backpacks, clothes and coats.”
“My husband and I are both on Social Security and disability. We got hurt on the job,” said Sherita Graham, one of the people whose layaway was paid off. ”My heart is overflowing with gratitude for him. I could tear up now.”
Gilbert III took photos with those families, which can be checked out in the links above.
That five figure gift is no small figure to Gilbert either. His base salary is only $495,000 this season before taxes, agent fees, etc.
He was the Steelers’ 6th round draft pick this year. He performed well, showing his athleticism in training camp, earning a spot on the 53 man roster, and played 150 snaps on special teams, leading the team before suffering a back injury that landed him on IR mid-way through the season. He’ll look to compete for, and likely earn, a roster spot in 2020. Tyler Matakevich is set to be a free agent in the offseason and if he doesn’t return, Gilbert III will be angling to replace him as a “core” special teamer while possibly seeing work in sub-packages.
An Ocala native, Gilbert III played his college ball at Akron, a three year starter and one of the Zips’ best players in years. At Trinity Catholic High School in Ocala, he was named the county’s defensive player of the year as a senior while also being awarded team MVP.