The cheers of over 400 children and faculty members filled the gymnasium at Hyde Park Elementary School as former Buffalo Bills Stevie Johnson and Ryan Fitzpatrick walked into the room.
There would be plenty of cheering at Hyde Park, as both athletes spent the day with children at the school, sharing their stories about their days in the NFL.
Johnson and Fitzpatrick read Johnson's newest children book, "The Legend of Fitzmagic – Mr. Nomadic," to preschool classrooms, signing jerseys and snapping selfies with the students and faculty of Hyde Park Elementary.
Johnson has authored multiple books directed towards children and was eager to share his latest masterpiece about his quarterback of four years who had an unorthodox journey through the NFL.
"I wanted to tell a story about my friend and someone who was my teammate," Johnson told a group of preschoolers before he and Fitzpatrick read the story.
"Stevie has been my friend for a long time, and he wrote this book and this is the first time I've ever heard and it makes me want to cry, I'm so happy," Fitzpatrick said to the boisterous group of young children.
Ryan Fitzpatrick & Stevie Johnson visited Hyde Park Elementary to read their new book "The Legend of Fitzmagic" in partnership with Wegman's Huddle for Hunger and Amazon, which donated 500 books, backpacks, and snacks to students.
The Buffalo Bills Foundation, Amazon Prime, SnapDragon Apples and Wegman's partnered to provide the children with gift bags with copies of Johnson's book and healthy snacks. Amazon Prime also presented a $25,000 donation to FeedMore WNY, a non-profit that provides nutritious food to those who need it throughout the Western New York community.
After the former teammates spent time with the younger kids in the school, the older children piled into the gym where Fitzpatrick and Johnson read the book and answered questions from students.
Both athletes expressed their admiration for the city of Buffalo and the fans who eagerly cheered them on during their stints in Buffalo.
"I miss the noise that fans would make when we scored touchdowns," Fitzpatrick said when asked what he missed most about his time in Buffalo. "Can you guys make some noise like we just scored a touchdown?"
The crowd of children erupted with excitement. To this reporter, it sounded about as loud as Highmark on a Sunday afternoon.
Fitzpatrick spoke on his journey to the NFL. The 17-year pro wasn't highly recruited but was successful as a student. Fitzpatrick went to Harvard University, where he played quarterback in addition to getting an Ivy League education. He was drafted in the seventh round of the NFL Draft and shared his story of an unlikely NFL career.
Johnson shared a quick message with the group of children about the importance of reading and being creative. Also a seventh-round pick, Johnson had three consecutive seasons with over 1,000 receiving yards with Fitzpatrick as his quarterback.
The assembly ended with a rendition of the "Shout" song, giving the energetic bunch of kids a chance to jump around and sing alongside two legends from their hometown team.