FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – Tight end Troy Niklas' free-agent visit to the New England Patriots on Easter Sunday is one that he’ll never forget, because it will forever be connected to one of the most memorable moments of his life: the birth of his daughter, Romy.
“It’s kind of a crazy story how this all went down,” he said Thursday after the third day of the team’s offseason program. “I got the call on Saturday from my agent, saying they’re interested and want you to come up and visit. My wife [Chloe] was almost nine months pregnant and we were like, ‘We could have the baby any day now.’ So I [said] to my wife, ‘I’d really like to go up there, it’s a team I’d love to play for.’ She was like ‘OK, get up there and get back as soon as you can.’
“So I fly out on Sunday, get in around 11, and meet with all the coaches. They’re just awesome, on top of everything, and you could tell they’re really specific about everything. I was really excited about that, I did some other things, and driving back [from Gillette Stadium] in the van, I called my wife and was like, ‘Are you all right?’ And she was like, ‘We’re headed to the hospital. I think my water broke.’
Troy Niklas' free-agent visit to the Patriots came on Easter Sunday. He was hesitant to take the visit because his wife's due date was approaching. It all worked out, as she delivered on Tuesday and he made it back in time. pic.twitter.com/OxglP5juJK— Mike Reiss (@MikeReiss) April 19, 2018
“So I’m stuck here. We’re kind of like, ‘Can I get an earlier flight out?’ I had pretty much met with everybody. But the flight I had was the best flight to get on. I flew back, made it back to the hospital, was able to get a little cat nap in before the whole process started at the hospital. And then early Tuesday morning, we had my baby daughter.”
Asked about the trip to Phoenix, Niklas said simply, “It was the longest flight of my life.”
Romy came two days earlier than Chloe’s actual due date. On the same day, Niklas -- who spent the first four years of his career with the Cardinals after being selected in the second round of the 2014 draft -- officially signed his contract with the Patriots.
With the Patriots starting their voluntary offseason program, the family traveled to New England together and they’re settling in.
"They flew out with me Saturday, only 10 days after she was born, but didn't make a peep on the flight. She's been a good baby," said Niklas, who is a first-time father.