Stephen and Nnenna Ndukwe no doubt are proud of their son, Chinedum.
That's Cincinnati Bengals strong safety and former Notre Dame standout Chinedum Ndukwe (pronounced CHIN-uh-doom en-DUKE-way). A 2007 seventh-round draft pick, he has 13 starts over 25 games in two seasons with the Bengals.
His parents migrated from Nigeria in the 1970s with little, said Ndukwe, who was born in Charlottesville, Va., and raised in Powell, Ohio. They found a way to give their family the all-American dream.
Ndukwe showed with actions Saturday that family pride and love goes both ways.
Never miss a local story.
After taking part in the Bengals mock game at Georgetown College, Ndukwe headed for Lexington Green and Whole Foods Market. Teammates Chase Coffman, Marvin White, Frostee Rucker, Rey Maualuga and Antonio Chatman also showed up.
They posed for pictures, chatted with fans and signed cards, hats, shirts, jerseys, flags, footballs, mini-helmets and more.
A film crew from HBO's Hard Knocks documented the scene.
"Amazing time! Couldn't be any better," said Jennifer Schuchhardt, 22, who traveled from Cincinnati with friends Stefanie Petrman and Heather Patton for a three-day Bengals weekend. "We got a ton of pictures, autographs. It was great."
Petrman, 26, wore a Carson Palmer jersey and toted a large Kermit The Frog clad in a Chad Ochocinco jersey. No split loyalties, though.
"A Bengals fan is a Bengals fan," she said. "Either way, it's 'who dey.' It's the whole team. You can't wear them all."
Kermit, she says, loves to see Bengals and Reds games.
As for the question that Bengal fans always ask — Who dey think gonna beat dem Bengals? — Patton led the three-voice response. "Nooo-body!"
Pleasing fans took a back seat to Ndukwe's main reason to be at the store, though.
In return for appearing, Whole Foods donated 5 percent of the day's net sales to the Ndukwe Foundation, which promotes "healthy eating initiatives."
"I was looking at some way to give back, and I was looking at what's really been the key components in making myself successful to this point in my life," Ndukwe said. "I think back to my upbringing and how my parents always stressed the important stuff, focusing on education. They always had us staying active in different sports to keep us out of trouble.
"And the last key component was eating healthy. There were few times that we'd eat out. There was always home-cooked meals, different fruits and vegetables and what not."
Ndukwe says he has been blessed in the way his parents raised him. And that others are not so blessed.
So promoting healthy eating, "especially (to) at-risk youth," has become his off-field passion.
On the field, his passion is making big plays. Although free-agent Roy Williams has pushed him to No. 2 on the depth chart, Ndukwe figures to contribute much.
In two seasons, he has two fumble returns for touchdowns and four interceptions. Despite losing five games to injury last year, he shared the team lead in sacks (three) and was seventh in tackles (77).
His goal for this season?
"Winning games," he said. "But, personally, just being that guy that the other team looks to try to game-plan for; that's my goal.
"I'm just trying to make plays. If there's a practice that goes by that I don't make a big play in, I'm sick to my stomach."
Spoken like someone who doesn't expect the Bengals to repeat a 4-11-1 season.
"I think we're going to shock some people," he said. "Shock the world, hopefully."