Monday is the Cowboys' season home opener, but the team's first play wasn't on the field, it was on the frontline.
Former player and Hall of Famer Charles Haley was at Baylor Scott & White All Saints in Fort Worth to thank frontline workers, take pictures, and sign autographs.
"Without them, we would be overrun with the virus," Haley said. His daughter is a nurse. "Every day they're taking a chance on their life and the life of their families."
"Nursing is a hard profession," Yaneth Maciel-Rodriguez said. "So anytime that anybody is willing to celebrate us, we are so grateful."
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The line of healthcare workers waiting to meet Haley stretched around the front of the hospital, where the COVID surge has had healthcare workers working overtime.
"I mean, it's stressful in the hospital," nurse Kevin Smith said. "For him (Haley) to do this speaks volumes!"
"For the past few weeks, lots and lots of sick COVID patients have been coming in needing to be ventilated and on advanced life support," Vice President of Patient Care Michelle Stemley said. "So that really has been our greatest challenge."
For some, COVID-19 isn't just part of their job, it's close to home. Libby Chavez-Sanchez took a break to get Haley's autograph for her husband's anniversary gift.
"He's gonna be so happy," Chavez-Sanchez said. "We've had a rough year. He lost both his parents to COVID in January, two days apart."
Haley said it's his way of giving back to the team and health professionals who helped him when he needed it.
"We always need to say 'thank you'," Haley said.