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NEW YORK — The man who plays for the New York Giants says he was inspired by a little girl to become the first Papa John’s Pizza deliveryman.

Papa John’s spokesman Dave Stancil confirmed that he is the father of the pizza deliveryman who has been dubbed the Papa John, after the Papa Paul franchise that originated in the city.

He said he is now “proud of him” and hopes to “give back” to the community by opening Papa Johns restaurants throughout the country.

Stancil said he would not comment on whether the name Papa John would be used in connection with the franchise, but said the brand is “inherently Papa John,” which has become synonymous with the restaurant chain.

The franchise started in 1996 in New Jersey, but it has since expanded to include more than 120 locations in 28 states and more than a dozen countries.

The company has said it has reached more than 100 million customers since 1996.