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Chicago Bears Player Saves Choking Salt Lick Brisket Customer

At the Austin airport

Salt Lick’s airport location
Salt Lick’s airport location
Salt Lick/Facebook
Nadia Chaudhury is the editor of Eater Austin covering food and pop culture, as well as a photographer, writer, and frequent panel moderator and podcast guest.

Chicago Bears football player Jerrell Freeman saved a man who was choking on brisket at Salt Lick’s outpost at the Austin-Bergstrom International Airport on Sunday, July 23, as reported by the Chicago Tribune.

Freeman sat down to eat a chopped brisket sandwich from Salt Lick’s taco bar (which is separate from the regular spot), when he noticed that a person at a nearby table, Marcus Ryan, seemed to be in trouble. He wasn’t immediately sure what had happened, but then a woman tried to perform the Heimlich Maneuver on Ryan, which didn’t work. The linebacker stepped in and executed the life-saving procedure twice. As he told the publication:

“I grabbed him and tried to squeeze the life out of him,” Freeman said. “You’ve got to push in and up. So I did that and he started throwing up what he was choking on. I asked him if he was all right and he shook his head like ‘No!’” [...] “I grabbed him again and hit him again with it,” Freeman added. “And when I put him down the second time, his eyes got big. He was like, ‘Oh, my god! I think you just saved my life, man!’ It was crazy.”

Freeman commemorated the incident on his Twitter account, where he wrote that his "mom would be proud." He also noted that Ryan continued to eat his brisket afterwards, because why waste smoked meats?

Salt Lick’s airport location is undergoing expansion renovations, which will relocate the restaurant from Gate 12 to between Gate 12 and 13 with more seating, power outlets, and sangria dispensers. The Austin-Bergstrom International is also seriously upgrading its local restaurant roster with favorite spots like Tacodeli, Peached Tortilla, and Hut’s Hamburgers.