Pro football players and members of the NFL Players Association (NFLPA) were busy during the 2012 offseason giving back to their communities. Carolina Panthers wide receiver Steve Smith pledged to donate $100,000 to help cover the medical bills of survivors of the Aurora, Colo., theater shooting; Kansas City Chiefs players helped rebuild homes devastated by the tornado in Joplin, Mo.; and Chicago Bears rookies planted trees at LaFollette Park. Read a full list of the community service work here.
Here Are Some Highlights from NFLPA:
Denver Broncos Visit Aurora Theater Shooting Victims—As Colorado continues to come together as a community after the tragic theater shootings, several Broncos players visited the injured and their families. Ryan Clady, Eric Decker, Ben Garland, Chris Kuper, Joe Mays, Jacob Tamme and former Bronco Brian Dawkins spent time with three of the injured victims at the Medical Center of Aurora. The group listened to the stories of the patients and the hospital staff members who were working as the injured patients were admitted. Earlier in the day, Peyton Manning called the hospital rooms to talk with some of the survivors.
Stafford of Detroit Lions Donates a $15,000 MNF Package to Young Boy—Matthew Stafford made a decision that changed a young boy’s life at a Mott Children's Hospital fundraiser. Attendees were confused when Stafford bid $15,000 on his own Monday Night Football package for the Lions-Bears game. It wasn’t until he won it and presented it to a young boy named Will that they became astounded by his generosity.
Wounded Vets, Atlanta Falcons Spend a Day on the Lake—The fifth annual Fishing with the Falcons event was held June 12 on Lake Lanier in Buford, Ga. The 2012 Rookie Club and several veteran players took time out of their week to fish with and pay tribute to military veterans wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers Deliver Timely Help to Youth Teams—A pair of devastating robberies put the upcoming seasons in peril for local youth football teams from Highland Panes and Carrollwood, but the Buccaneers reached out just in time.
Cincinnati Bengals Running Back Brian Leonard Befriends Teenage Cancer Patient, Helps Him Fight—Cincinnati Bengals running back Brian Leonard has developed a special relationship with Sean Martyn, an 18-year-old cancer fighter. Leonard met Martyn through Embrace Kids Foundation, the beneficiary of Leonard’s annual charity event, “Brian Leonard’s Rally at the Alley.” Through his relationship with Embrace Kids, Leonard has forged a friendship with Martyn, now fighting his second bout with cancer.