This Week in NFL Do-Goodery: Marvin Jones, Jaylon Ferguson, Aaron Donald
During the NFL season we brought you a weekly collection spotlighting the masses of NFL players who donate their time and money for a range of causes. We were going to hit pause until the new season began, presuming that the number of guys out in the community would be slimmer due to the offseason. Turns out their efforts are even more robust and their causes deserve the spotlight. Also, in light of the disturbing Tyreek Hill situation, we figured the readers could use a little dose of positivity right now.
Here are a few acts of Do-Goodery that caught our attention over the last week or so. We’ll be back with more editions throughout the remainder of the offseason.
Ravens Rookie DE Jaylon Ferguson Provides Tornado Relief
Jaylon Ferguson is a Louisiana kid through and through. Born in Zachary, Louisiana, he went on to star at Louisiana Tech before being drafted in the third round by the Baltimore Ravens. Unlike most prospects, Ferguson wasn’t hosting a shindig and nervously waiting for a call that would alter his life. Instead Ferguson went to Ruston, Louisiana to help with recovery after a devastating tornado tore through the city last Thursday. The tornado killed a mother and a son and caused widespread damage to the area.
While Ferguson made sure he was reachable during the draft, being immersed in the recovery efforts helped him with a deep understanding of priorities. “It’s really a humbling experience because I’m waiting on the call of a lifetime, but at the same time somebody is waking up and their house is gone,” Ferguson told Glenn Clark Radio after the draft.
Larry Fitzgerald Promotes Reading and Battling Breast Cancer
On April 27th, Larry Fitzgerald hosted his ninth annual Celebrity Softball game weekend, which promotes First Down Fund, the wideout’s organization focused on reading literacy in kids and the fight against break cancer.
Fitz was joined by his celebrity friends, including Josh Rosen (!), for a softball game and VIP party all to raise money for the causes that have touched Fitzgerald the most. He established First Down Fund in 2005 which provides funding for reading and learning tools such as computer labs, books and chess tournaments. The breast cancer awareness arm of his foundation is inspired by Fitzgerald’s mom, Carol, who passed away from the disease in 2003.
Carolina Panthers establish Keep Pounding Community Service Day
Still newish Panthers owner David Tepper has made his mark in a multitude of ways but none are as striking as his commitment to community. Tepper has now instituted Keep Pounding Day on May 1st to honor former Panthers linebacker Sam Mills, who wore 51. Mills was a community stalwart before he tragically passed away at age 45 from cancer.
The Panthers are also celebrating their 25th season and the team spread out to brighten lives in 25 cities across the Carolinas. Team president Tom Glick spent his day in Greenville, SC, distributing books to second-graders. A larger contingent, that included Cam Newton and Torrey Smith, surprised kids in Columbia, SC with an afterschool Play 60 event. Another group of players and coaches worked on a Habitat for Humanity build in Charlotte. Panthers.com has more information on the day.
Rookie Dalton Risner Has a Heart of Gold
While at Kansas State, offensive lineman Dalton Risner visited sick children at Camp Hope. Upon returning a year later, he was told many had passed away. From that moment on Risner knew he wanted to use his platform for good and immediately started bettering the lives around him. Drafted in the second round by the Denver Broncos, Risner is ready to continue the acts of kindness he began at Kansas State.
50 career starts at @KStateFB.
3-year team captain.
His NFL dreams are about to come true…
But OL Dalton Risner’s (@DaltonBigD71) impact stretches far beyond the football field.
For more about Dalton’s foundation and community work, visit: https://t.co/BPvWSeRAod @RisnerUpF pic.twitter.com/h3QSAaJsZw
— NFL (@NFL) April 24, 2019
This heartwarming clip shows Risner playing ping-pong with a disabled man, visiting a wheelchair bound former Kansas State employee and spending time with a young boy stricken with leukemia.
Risner’s foundation RisnerUp is dedicated to fostering relationships like the ones shown in the video and promoting the simple concept of brightening up someone’s day.
Tennessee Titans Help Homeless During Draft Week
According to Nashville mayor David Briley, one in five children suffer from food insecurity in Middle Tennessee. During draft week, the Titans, the mayor’s office and the NFL joined together to pack 8,000 meals for Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee. Titans owner Amy Adams Strunk donated $50,000 to the organization. She donated another $50,000 to Bridge Ministry. a group that allows anyone in need to pick up groceries, have a meal and listen to a church service each Tuesday.
The Titans have supported Bridge Service for some time, and players like Kevin Byard and Delanie Walker were in attendance to brighten spirits during draft week.
Aaron Donald Makes Massive Contribution to Pitt
Early this month, all world defensive tackle Aaron Donald made a seven-figure commitment to the Pitt Football Championship Fund.
“Aaron is the toast of Los Angeles but he’s still a Pitt and Penn Hills guy at heart. He’s humble, hardworking and has never forgotten where he came from. This incredible gift to Pitt is a reflection of that,” Panthers head coach Pat Narduzzi said in a statement.
According to the school. Donald’s gift will be used to help with recruiting, student-athlete development and facilities, among other improvements.
Marvin Jones Kicks It With Boys And Girls Club
Lions wideout Marvin Lions spent part of this week hanging with the Boys and Girls Club of Southeastern Michigan. Jones, a community stalwart, donated 150 pairs of new shoes to kids in need. He stuck around to turn a gifting event into a dance party.
And of course any event with @MarvinJonesJr means plenty of dancing 🕺 pic.twitter.com/NxfbR20DMd
— Detroit Lions (@Lions) May 2, 2019
Jones’s donation came in conjunction with his Dreambuilders Foundation, which focuses on development and refurbishment projects in the Detroit area.
- Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes announced a partnership between his foundation and Omaze were fans can enter a contest to play Madden 20 with Mahomes. Proceeds benefit underprivileged kids.
- Ravens TE Hayden Hurst donated $4,000 to South Carolina’s club hockey
- The Miami Dolphins, along with Baptist Health South Florida, surprised a local high school with new equipment.
- Chiefs DBs Bashaud Breeland, Charvarius Ward, Tremon Smith and Leon McQuay were on hand at Cornerstones of Cares as the organization announced it would be the recipient of the Chiefs charity football game in August
- Browns CB Denzel Ward donated $10,000 to his high school’s football program