KJ Osborn was, in his words, in the “right place at the right time” early Monday morning in Austin, Texas.
The Minnesota Vikings receiver joined three other bystanders in rescuing a man from a burning car underneath a freeway overpass.
Osborn first revealed the story Monday afternoon in a podcast interview with ESPN’s Adam Schefter. According to a statement released Tuesday by police in Austin, the man was transported to a local hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.
“They always say, ‘Wrong place wrong time,'” Osborn told Schefter. “But I was at the exact right place at the right time.”
Osborn, a fifth-round pick in the 2020 draft and the Vikings’ No. 3 receiver for the past two seasons, said he was in Austin for the weekend and had been visiting with friends Sunday night. He was riding in an Uber when the driver noticed a car that had crashed into a pillar along the freeway. Police said the accident occurred near the 6700 block of N. Mopac Expressway on the northbound side.
Osborn, the Uber driver and two other bystanders approached the car as the engine caught fire. Airbags had deployed, Osborn said, and it was difficult to see the driver.
“I’m thinking this is obviously a big risk,” Osborn said. “I don’t have experience in this. In my head, I’m thinking this car can blow up at any second and it could all be over.”
The four rescuers convinced the man to slide over to the passenger’s side, Osborn said, at which point they pulled him out of the car. Osborn said he then carried the man “10 or 15 feet” away from the car to safety. The man was bleeding from the mouth, Osborn said.
Officers were called to the scene at approximately 2:32 am Monday morning, according to police. When they arrived, the man had already been removed from the vehicle. According to Osborn, the responding officers told the group that “we saved that man’s life. He wouldn’t have been able to get out of that vehicle without our help.”
Osborn is working this offseason to finish his master’s degree in criminal justice at the University of Miami. He told Schefter that he hopes one day to work as a private investigator or in the secret service.
“I was like, ‘That was live bullets,'” Osborn said. “I’m just grateful I was in a position to help him. It was definitely the most crazy experience of my life.”