The confluence of events that led KJ Osborn to a burning car wreck under a bridge in the middle of the night stuck in the Vikings’ receiver days later, as did the recent revelation that he shares “close mutual friends” with the man he met the rescue helped a burning vehicle in Texas.
“I’ve never been to Austin,” Osborn said of the city where his coach lives. “And I missed my first Uber. So if I had gotten into the first Uber, I would never have seen that. [And] We have close friends in common, so I’m looking forward to speaking to him privately and just shaking his hand or something.”
Late Sunday night, Osborn was looking at his phone when, as the 25-year-old recipient recalled, his driver saw the wreckage and pulled over. Behind them, another vehicle pulled up with two other passers-by. About four minutes later, Osborn credited his Uber driver with helping lead a rescue operation in which they helped carry a man from the wreckage.
Osborn saw flames engulf the vehicle and heard tires burst.
“We were the only option,” he said, “and that’s why I applauded [the driver] so much. Even if I were the driver I can’t say 100% that I would have stopped and if I had I don’t know what I would do in that situation.”
Speaking to Twin Cities reporters via video conference on Wednesday morning, Osborn said he did not speak to the man he helped save him. But he learned Tuesday they had mutual friends and Osborn plans to get in touch.
After the accident, Osborn posted photos of the scene and the four-person rescue party on social media. Pending attention as an NFL player, the Vikings’ wide reciver said he wanted to include the other three rescuers – and he shared with them the answers he received.
“They’re not really on social media,” Osborn said, “so I tell them this story: ‘Millions of people are watching this, and I want you to know that people are grateful to you, too.’ Of course they will talk about the footballer, these three are heroes.”
Quarterback Kirk Cousins posted on social media that the story is “on brand” for Osborn, a 2020 fifth-round draft pick who has established himself as a reliable receiver and popular teammate over three seasons. Osborn has spoken before about turning a criminal justice degree into a job with the FBI, and what happened in Austin made him dream of other career aspirations.
“Obviously the NFL is working right now,” Osborn said, “but definitely something that could happen later.”
©2023 StarTribune. Visit startribune.com. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.
Copyright 2023 Tribune Content Agency.