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Panini NFL Player of the Day Winner Spends a Day with Pierre Thomas

March 3, 2011

Avid collector Nathan Foster, a history teacher and coach at Springfield Middle School in Louisiana, turned one lucky pack of Panini America NFL trading cards into one fantastic grand prize: The chance for him, his friends and family to spend a day at home and at his local card shop with New Orleans Saints running back Pierre Thomas.

That day was last Saturday, and it began with a private party at Foster’s home for 20 friends, family members and co-workers featuring a big pot of gumbo and the rugged Thomas, a Saints fan favorite and a key cog in New Orleans’ Super Bowl XLIV victory.

Despite being on crutches as he recovers from a late-seasons ankle injury, Thomas was in great spirits. He told stories, answered questions, posed for photos and signed autographs.

After food and fun at Foster’s house, he hopped into a limousine with his brother, his best friend and Thomas for the short two-mile ride to his local card shop, Chuck’s Field of Dreams, to share the day with the rest of the Albany, La., community.  More than 250 loyal Saints fans awaited free autographs, handshakes and photos from the Saints’ star.  One fan even flew in from Georgia for the event.

“This was a great day for Nathan and the entire community,” said Chuck Raborn, owner of Chuck’s Field of Dreams. “He is a regular customer at my shop and a big football card collector. I’m glad to be a part of his special day.”

Foster, a passionate LSU fan, is one of the more than 200,000 NFL card collectors who participated in the 2010 Panini NFL Player of the Day contest, which was conducted nationwide at more than 600 hobby shops from September through November. Foster, 24, is among the thousands of collectors who earned prizes in the contest, but as the grand prize winner, he was the only one to win a day with an NFL player. He also received a $250 shopping spree to spend on NFL-licensed products at Chuck’s Field of Dreams.

 His journey began when he uncovered the designated Panini NFL Player of the Day from a pack of cards he purchased at the hobby shop. Each participating store selected a grand prize winner for a spot in the national sweepstakes in which Foster proved to be the luckiest of the entrants. More than 100 collectors earned prizes — including autographed footballs and autographed NFL trading cards — in the national sweepstakes.

2010 marked the 11th straight year of the promotion, which was a joint initiative between Panini America and NFL PLAYERS. Past players have included: Patrick Crayton, Steve Slaton, AJ Feely, Maurice Jones-Drew, Chris Simms, Rudi Johnson, Donald Driver, Ed McCaffrey, Chad Pennington and Frank Wycheck.

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