It was a rainy Wednesday in Holland, Michigan, and Hope College juniors Hannah Pearce and Breck McCloskey were on their way to the campus fitness center for a workout. Though they didn’t realize it initially, they walked past a western Michigan icon.
Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins.
Two students stopped me after my PT session @ Hope…told me they’d get extra credit if I showed up to class so I had to stop by. Professor Gentile, thanks for having me, but now I’m holding you to that extra credit! https://t.co/MlVPKnSWYl
— Kirk Cousins (@KirkCousins8) January 26, 2024
Cousins, who has a younger sister who attends Hope, was spotted at DeVos Fieldhouse — an athletic facility on campus — where he was surrounded by trainers, prompting speculation that he was rehabbing from an Achilles injury he suffered in late October against the Green Bay Packers.
«We passed him as we were warming up to run and were like, ‘That may have been Kirk Cousins,'» Pearce told ESPN.
After they completed their workout, Pearce and McCloskey were curious about a chance meeting with the NFL quarterback. As the duo headed to their sports communications class, the encounter remained on their minds.
When they walked into the class, they told their professor Patrick Gentile that they believed they had seen Cousins on campus. Gentile offered extra credit to the two with a catch. They’d have to relocate him and provide proof.
«He said ‘Well, if you can go find him [Cousins] and prove that he was here, you can get extra credit,'» Pearce said Gentile told her and McCloskey.
Pearce and McCloskey now had a mission. The two returned to the DeVos Fieldhouse front desk to inquire about Cousins’ whereabouts, only to find out that he had left. However, the duo got lucky when they saw the former Michigan State standout sitting in his car in the parking lot.
With no hesitation, Pearce knocked on Cousins’ window and pitched the offer to have the quarterback attend their class for extra credit.
With two set to walk and meet Cousins at the Martha Miller Center for Global Communication, he offered a kind gesture instead.
«We told him that we would meet him at [the] Martha Miller [Center] and to pull up to the back with his hazards on and he was like, ‘It’s raining, just hop in!'» Pearce told ESPN.
When the quarterback entered the classroom, students instantly showered Cousins with questions about his Achilles tendon recovery timeline. They even heard his take on the NFC championship between the Detroit Lions and San Francisco 49ers on Sunday.
Although Gentile said it was the highlight of his teaching career, he didn’t want to keep Cousins away from his training schedule.
«I told him that he didn’t have to stay if he didn’t want to but wanted him to get a picture with the students before he left which was pretty awesome,» Gentile said.