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Santa Wears Eagles Green



    Ellis Hobbs Plays Secret Santa

    Ellis Hobbs makes some lifetime fans when he pays for their toys -- on the spot -- at a local Toys R Us store. (Published Monday, Dec. 20, 2010)

    While holiday shoppers stood at the check-out aisle, Santa swooped in on Eagles wings.

    Eagles cornerback Ellis Hobbs walked into a busy Toys "R" Us store on Oregon Avenue at noon on Friday and purchased presents for about 20 shoppers waiting in line.

    Daena Cunningham, a social service worker, was there buying electronic toys for her daughter and her nephew.  Hobbs, 27, was waiting at the cash register, and offered to pick up the nearly $300 bill.  He even paid for the extended warranty.

    Cunningham asked the football player why he was buying these presents for strangers. "He stated he has been so blessed in his life in his career," Cunningham said.  "Doing this small thing was just his way of paying it forward."

    Some recipients of Hobbs' generosity thought the NFL pro was trying to pull one over on them, reported.

    "I asked for his I.D.," Jennifer Santoro, 34 said. "I thought it was some kind of scam." Hobbs assured her it was not, and paid for $100 worth of toys for the woman's 6-year-old son.

    Hobbs ended his second season as a Philadelphia Eagle two weeks ago when he suffered a major neck injury, his second in two years.  His public statements since the injury suggest he is leaning towards retirement. 

    Cunningham said what was most striking about Hobbs' giving was his humble nature. "He asked that we not cause a scene or bring to much attention to this Christmas miracle," she said. "I am still blown away by this act of generosity and human kindness."