DEREK ANDREWS, the 2008 SPORTS ILLUSTRATED KIDS SportsKid of the Year, knew football players were big, but it wasn't until his photo shoot for SI KIDS's December cover, out this week, that he realized just how big: Pictured with him are 6'4", 297-pound Jason Whittle (left) and 6'5", 326-pound Duke Preston, both Buffalo Bills offensive linemen. "Literally his jaw dropped and he took a step back," says Derek's father, Jonathan, of his son's reaction to the players. For Derek, whose surname mistakenly appeared as Anderson in an item in the Nov. 3 SI, hanging out with his hometown Bills was a dream realized. The players were impressed too. Derek, a five-sport athlete, suffers from an unidentified muscle disorder that weakens him and causes fatigue, requiring Derek to do physical therapy four times a week. His courage wasn't lost on anyone. "We're awful proud of Derek," said Whittle. "It's humbling to be able to do this with a kid like him."
MICHAEL J. LEBRECHT II/1DEUCE3 PHOTOGRAPHY (COVER)