The grins were what got Isaiah Wynn. The Patriots’ top pick in April’s draft was bowled over by the expressions on faces of the patients as he made the rounds during a recent visit to Boston Children’s Hospital.
“For the most part everybody was just smiling. Of course at first the little kids were frightened but they warmed up to us and it was awesome,’’ Wynn said. “And the good thing about that is it was contagious. As soon as we came from one room that smile, it would just get passed down the hallway and everyone we ran into — it was just a contagious type thing.”
The visit by New England’s rookie class was organized to help the players make a connection to the community and according to Wynn it was a big hit for all involved.
“It’s definitely important to me because it’s way bigger than me and way bigger than football,’’ said Wynn, who said patients were allowed to design their own Patriots hats that will be unveiled this fall. “I think a lot of times people forget we’re human and not just football players. We’ve got that compassionate side and we want to see everyone healthy and doing what they want to do in life. So just being able to kind of put that out there, it was a great feeling.’’
For Wynn, it was a continuation of a community spirit instilled during his college days at Georgia. The Bulldogs would visit Children’s Hospital in Atlanta every year before their annual clash with Georgia Tech. In addition, the team would routinely host “special visitors” at practice.
The trip to Boston so left an impression on Wynn that he was among the first to raise his hand when a second visit was proposed.
Wynn, along with fellow rookies Keion Crossen and Darren Andrews, headed back to Longwood Avenue for another go-around. “So, I wanted to go back and get a chance and visit some other patients that we didn’t get a chance to visit with,’’ said Wynn. “So, that was real good.’’
In a video posted on patriots.com, the 18-member class performed Bill Withers’s classic “Lean on Me.” Though Wynn was the team’s top pick, it was clear that linebacker Ja’Whaun Bentley was the top vocalist.
“If you watched it you could kind of tell that Ja’Whaun was the best one,’’ said Wynn, laughing at the memory. “Everybody else was the backup singers for him — I think he may go solo on us.”
Wynn said that during an early meeting during the offseason program players talked about fallback careers and Bentley offered up singer as an alternate job.
“He mentioned he could sing but we kind of took that lightly because everybody thinks they can sing or whatever,’’ said Wynn. “But he can really sing. So it was good that he got to go out there and do his thing.’’
Wynn, who will be competing for a spot on the offensive line when camp opens in a few weeks (he has experience at guard and tackle), said he’ll be gearing up for the season in his native Florida by both “relaxing and also trying to stay ahead of the game.’’
No word on whether he’ll be adding vocal lessons to his repertoire, however.