Former SU football players come to the aid of a player turned panhandler

Luke Cain pictured in 2006 (L) and in 2012 (R).

Former Syracuse University football players from across the nation are banding together to help a former linebacker who was reduced to panhandling on the streets of Syracuse.

The president of the Syracuse University Football Lettermanâ??s Club, Jim Jerome, told CNY Central's Jim Kenyon that the club was touched by his exclusive report on Luke Cain. Kenyon found Cain begging for handouts at the corner of South Warren and Jefferson Streets on Monday.

Cain was a star linebacker who played for the Orange from 2004 through 2006 on a full athletic scholarship. After falling five courses short of obtaining a degree in Child and Family Studies, Cain told Kenyon that he fell on hard times and ended up homeless on the streets of Syracuse. Cain says he may have suffered a brain injury while playing football and now suffers from mental illness.

After the story aired and was posted on, Jerome told Kenyon on Tuesday, "We had no idea. I wish somebody told us sooner... This is a tragedy. This can't be allowed to stand."

Jerome explained former football players are working together to help Cain. "The guys have started blogs, my phone has been ringing off the hook. Facebook pages going... Everything. We will get this done right."

Jerome says he has been in touch with SUâ??s Athletic Office as well as the Oxford Inn, a homeless shelter where Luke Cain has been staying.

"We've got to start with some medical help," says Jerome.

Jerome said he took Cain to lunch and talked about whether he may have suffered a head injury.

"I wouldn't be surprised from what he's said about his eye rolling backâ?¦ He's had a number of CAT scans and MRI's, so he may have some brain concussion issues going on," says Jerome.

Jerome says the effort to help Cain is "in its infancy" but if you'd like to show your support, you can access his Facebook page.

Cain told Kenyon on Tuesday that he is grateful for the outpouring of support since his story became public.

"I just thank them for helping people in need," says Cain.