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Record-setting bell ringer from Biloxi says he’s proud of Zeke’s leap

Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott peeks out of a large Salvation Army kettle after jumping into it celebrating a touchdown he scored on a running play in the first half of an NFL football game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday in Arlington, Texas.
Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott peeks out of a large Salvation Army kettle after jumping into it celebrating a touchdown he scored on a running play in the first half of an NFL football game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday in Arlington, Texas. AP

Jamie Richardson, a Biloxi man who just set the world record for most consecutive hours ringing a Salvation Army bell, said Monday that he’s proud of football player Ezekiel Elliott.

Elliott, a Dallas Cowboys running back, brought national attention to the group Sunday night when he jumped into an oversized Salvation Army red kettle after scoring a touchdown.

The Dallas game was nationally televised, and Elliott’s leap has torn up social media.

Elliott was flagged for excessive celebration, sparking talk that the NFL would fine him as well. Elliott said if he was fined, he would match the fine with a donation to the Salvation Army.

Richardson was working in a Salvation Army cold weather shelter here on the Coast on Sunday night, he said, and the people there immediately began talking about the leap when it happened.

Elliott is “a rookie, so it is good that the younger athletes already have this is mind,” Richardson said Monday. “If they can give back to any cause, that’s a good thing.”

Earlier this month, Richardson’s record setting turn at ringing a Salvation Army bell required him to be outside a Biloxi Wal-Mart for about a week.

He said people connected to the Salvation Army “understand what a big deal this is,” and they immediately began sharing stories and pictures of Elliott in some of their Facebook groups.

The national Salvation Army gets it too, tweeting Monday morning: “@EzekielElliott Thank you! Your #kettlehop was amazing. Thank you for helping us serve millions of people in need every year. God Bless You!”

The NFL said Monday morning that it would not fine Elliott for an excessive celebration. Elliott, however, still plans to make a donation.

“Even though I will not be fined, I still will be making a donation to the Salvation Army,” he said Monday via Twitter.

Blake Kaplan: 228-896-2327, @Blake_Kaplan

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