Promptly at 6 p.m. Thursday, a door swung open to the main hall at Sheridan House Family Ministries and, much to the delight of the 20 young boys assembled, in walked Dolphins star receiver Brandon Marshall.
Marshall, 26, talked about his own troubled upbringing, sharing how his family used to call itself "Dee Dee and the Dysfunctionals," in honor of his single mother.
He impressed upon the boys the importance of goal-setting and hard work, reminding them, "The reward is always greater than the sacrifice."
He asked their GPAs and urged them to aim higher, to take some of those 3.7's to 4.0.
He talked to them about video games, of course, and shared how he just couldn't get into the "Modern Warfare" series that is sweeping the nation, although he's played his share of Madden 11 and NBA2K games.
He even brought up his touchdown drought, asking them to guess how many times he's scored in this frustrating, injury-marred year.
"Twenty-five?" one boy shouted.
More guesses came. Twenty? Fifteen? Ten?
"Lower," he said. "Low, low, low."
No one got it right.
"Two!" Marshall blurted out, laughing. "Both against the Jets, though!"
The boys ate pizza and drank sodas that Marshall provided. Then the Pro Bowl receiver handed out huge gift bags to each of the boys.
Inside each one, there was a No. 19 Dolphins jersey with his name (which every boy immediately put on); a football, a 2-gig iPod Shuffle, an iPod charger, two tickets to Sunday's game against the Bills and food vouchers; plus a combined $75 in gift cards to Target and iTunes