Dallas Cowboys RB Alfred Morris stiff arms Chicago Bears LB Jerrell Freeman on September 25 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. File Photo by Ian Halperin/UPI | License Photo
July 24 (UPI) -- NFL linebacker Jerrell Freeman made his best play before training camp, when he saved a choking man Sunday at the Austin Airport.
Freeman, 31, was traveling from Texas to Illinois for the Chicago Bears' camp when he saw a stranger struggling at Salt Lick Taco Bar.
He recounted the story on his Twitter account.
"CRAZY!! Just saved my guy Marcus Ryan's life by using the Heimlich maneuver in the middle of the Austin airport! WOW Mom would be proud haha," Freeman tweeted Sunday afternoon.
Freeman saw Ryan stand up out of his chair. He told the Chicago Tribune that Ryan looked "like he had forgotten something."
"He went around the table and started to look a little frantic. I'm thinking, 'Man, this is odd. Maybe one of his kids walked off and he can't find his kid or something?'" Freeman told the Tribune.
A woman first attempted to aid Ryan with the Heimlich maneuver but was unsuccessful. Freeman then pursued, like he was trying to "make a tackle," according to the Tribune.
The 6-foot-1, 268 pound defender had never employed the maneuver before the incident. After doing it once to Ryan, the stranger told him that he was still struggling.
"I grabbed him again and hit him again with it," Freeman told the Tribune. "And when I put him down the second time, his eyes got big. He was like, 'Oh my god! I think you just saved my life, man!' It was crazy."
Freeman's flight was delayed before it was rerouted to St. Louis. He arrived to Chicago's O'Hare more than three hours late.
The Bears report on Wednesday to training camp at Olivet Nazarene University in Bourbonnais, Ill. The team's first practice is Thursday. Freeman had 110 tackles and four passes defended in 12 games last season. He has more than 630 career takedowns in five NFL seasons for the Indianapolis Colts and Bears. He signed a three-year, $12 million contract with the Bears last offseason.