Pair of NFL players hailed as heroes for saving elderly hiker's life

(CBS Evening News)
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LOS ANGELES -- On Saturday, Dan and Eli Smoker took a selfie to remember their perfect climb up Castle Rock in Colorado. But for the grandfather and grandson, getting back down was a different story.

"I went down first. I was climbing down then heard what sounded like a shoe slipping, and I turned around to see my grandpa falling," Eli said. "And I saw him hit the ground."

Dan fell more than 20 feet.

A pair of pro football players -- Christian and Max McCaffrey, who are also brothers -- happened to be nearby and pulled off the play of the week. Christian called 911 while other Good Samaritans kept Dan alive and Eli calm.

"My mind was working at a million miles an hour," Eli said. "I was just thinking, 'Will my grandpa survive this?'"

Dan survived and is being treated for a broken leg, neck and pelvis. He also broke nine ribs and has a blood clot on his brain.

The McCaffrey brothers visited the family at the hospital.

"I can't thank them enough, honestly," Eli said.

Through a spokesperson, Christian, a running back for the Carolina Panthers, denies doing anything courageous. But he did tweet about the family, saying, "I know where Eli gets his strength!"


Eli and his dad were even more grateful Wednesday. The 72-year-old took a breath without machines and saw his grandson.

It was a small step in the climb to a full recovery.