While every team has its fans and haters, we can all agree that certain football players go above and beyond to support military service members, veterans and their families. Here is a shortlist of some players whose dedication to the troops shines.
Jared Allen, Chicago Bears
The winner of the 2015 Salute to Service Award, Jared Allen has distinguished himself as a constant supporter of the entire military community. Allen founded the Homes for Wounded Warriors Foundation (JAH4WW) in 2009, which builds and remodels homes that are accessible to veterans. He has also visited bases overseas and met thousands of active duty troops.
Vincent Jackson, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
A self-proclaimed ‘military brat,’ Vincent Jackson founded Jackson in Action 83 Foundation to provide education, physical and mental support to children with military parents. Jackson is also the author of a children’s book series entitled Danny Dogtags, which explores the positives of military life.
J.J. Watt, Houston Texans
J.J. Watt gives back to the military community by providing behind-the-scenes tickets to Texan home games through the Justin J. Watt Foundation. The foundation also supports after athletic programs in the area, and has sponsored the purchase of basketball goals at the military’s Joint Base, San Antonio. Watt has visited many military bases both at home and overseas, including the SEALs training facility and the USS Texas submarine.
Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks
Russell Wilson made headlines last month due to his good will and appreciation for military service members. On an Alaskan Airlines flight in April, Wilson spotted an Army veteran sitting in coach. He immediately spoke to the airline in order to upgrade the veteran to first-class out of respect and admiration.
Charles Tillman, Carolina Panthers
The former Chicago Bears player was the second ever recipient of the Salute to Service award. Tillman has greeted wounded warriors returning from combat and donated computers, digital cameras, DVD player and more to military families through the Charles Tillman Cornerstone Foundation.