Former Gators kicker honored for aiding victim of violence

Eddy Pineiro and his father defend woman being attacked by man

Eddy Pineiro #15 of the Florida Gators gestures after kicking a field goal during the first half of the game against the UAB Blazers at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium on November 18, 2017 in Gainesville, Florida. (Getty Images)

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – In the wee hours of Oct. 15, Eddy Pineiro said he heard loud screams and looked out the window of his fourth-floor apartment. What Pineiro saw down below alarmed him.

"It was a crazy situation,'' Pineiro, Florida's starting kicker the past two seasons, said Monday from his home in Miami. "I saw some guy literally beating up this girl."

Pineiro and his father, Eddy Pineiro Sr., had returned home for the night following Florida's loss to Texas A&M at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. Shortly after hearing the woman's screams, they ran down the stairs to try and help her break free.

Pineiro said he yelled multiple times for the man to let the woman go, but the assailant continued his attack.

"I saw the guy choking her,'' Pineiro said. "It was the worst thing I have ever experienced."

As the Pineiros intervened and called police, the woman broke free and began to run away. The man chased her, which led the Pineiros to take off in their direction to make sure the woman escaped.

Pineiro said the man eventually caught the woman and continued the attack until she was able to jump into a car of young women passing by who offered to help. The police soon arrived to arrest the man.

While the victim initially declined to press charges -- Pineiro later learned the couple was involved in an abusive relationship over a period of at least several months -- she later had a change of heart.

The Gainesville Police Department recently honored Pineiro with a Police Service Award certificate that he tweeted over the weekend. The GPD thanked Pineiro for "selfless acts and extreme bravery" in his role of protecting the woman from "possible severe injuries or even death."

A fan favorite in his two seasons with the Gators, Pineiro declared for the NFL Draft and is currently training in south Florida.

He made 38 of 43 field goals at UF and became something of a folk hero for his big leg and for enthusiastically sharing much of his experience as a player – including multiple field goals at practice of 70 or more yards – on social media. On several occasions, "Ed-dy, Ed-dy" chants rained down on Pineiro after a kick at The Swamp.

Pineiro's latest achievement is special.

"My dad was happy I got the award,'' Pineiro said