A little over a month ago Ray Lewis created headlines when he spoke to ESPN’s Sal Paolantonio saying, “Watch how much crimes go up, if you take away our game.” The reaction to Lewis’ comments varied, some people just found it humorous, others thought it was nonsense and some considered the comments prophetic. Lewis has a point of course, if there is no football at all this season there will be a lot of fans with nothing to do other than find ways to get themselves in trouble this fall. However when considering how much crime takes place because of football (fights, DUIs, etc. etc.), it would most likely balance out, but you try telling Ray Lewis he is wrong.
Lewis wasn’t talking about the players getting in trouble, but apparently the Titan’s Kenny Britt and many people in the Tampa Bay Buccaneers organization missed that memo. During last season the Jets were the ‘bad boys’ of the league, constantly finding themselves steeped in controversy, but so far during the lockout Jets players are making headlines for giving back instead of getting in trouble.
Braylon Edwards was just one member of the Jets who made news for the wrong reasons last season, but during this lockout Edwards made sure to use his free time for good and come through on a promise he made to 100 high school students from the Cleveland area.
Just call them ‘Edwards’ tots’ (okay so it doesn’t have the same ring to it as ‘Scott’s tots’, but Edwards wins for actually honoring his promise).
In 2007 when Edwards was still playing for the Cleveland Browns he promised 100 students he would pay for their college tuition if they earned at least a 2.5 GPA and did a minimum of 15 hours of community service. A couple years after the promise was made, but before the students graduated, Edwards was exiled from Cleveland as public enemy number one. Ironically the reason he was exiled was for punching a friend of the superstar that would ultimately replace Edwards at the top of Cleveland’s most hated list.
But just because he was shipped out of Cleveland doesn’t mean he didn’t feel obligated to make good on his promise. Just over a month ago Edwards tweeted, “As the 2nd most hated man in Clev & a man of my word, today I will honor a promise made to 100 students in Cleveland years ago.” Edwards was never the most loved person in Cleveland, even before he punched LeBron James’ friend, but there is little doubt he gained a ton of respect from everybody by fulfilling his promise to these kids.
Edwards however isn’t the only player on the Jets using this extra time to help others. The Metro’s Kristian Dyer wrote an article on NFL.com about Bart Scott and his plans for his “Can’t Wait,” clothing line. Everyone knows the story of how the catch phrase was born, but as entertaining as that exchange was no one could have expected it to have the specific type of impact it is now having.
Scott quickly trademarked his signature catch phrase, seizing on an opportunity like a loose fumble bouncing on the grass, but Scott isn’t concerned with the proceeds filling up his back account, he wants the money to go to the “LeGrand Believe Fund.”
Eric LeGrand is the linebacker from Rutgers University who was paralyzed in a game against Army last season, it was the type of collision no one ever wants to see in a football game and the seriousness of the injury was immediately noticeable. LeGrand has made progress since the injury first happened and there is more hope now that he could some day walk again than there was when he was first injured, but it’s not going to be easy and that’s where people like Scott come in.
“All the proceeds from the first run will go to LeGrand to help him,” Scott told Dyer, “I want to do something for him, to help him. I hope we’ll sell out the shirts quickly so we can get the money to him because things are expensive with his care, and I know there are money needs. For instance, he needs to refit the doors at his house for his wheelchair.
“I’ve never met him but I heard he’s a great kid. He has a lot of concerns and needs right now, but I know someday he will walk, and that’s something I can’t wait for.”
Jets fans around the globe were already chomping at the bit for a chance to wear a “Can’t Wait,” shirt, now they get the added bonus of contributing funds to try and help a man walk again one day, something everyone can agree that they ‘can’t wait,’ to see happen.
It’s not just the big names on the team out there trying to give back. Safety Emanuel Cook will be hosting a celebrity charity bowl-a-thon July 2 in West Palm Beach Florida with the proceeds going to help fight blood cancer. Cook took to Twitter and Facebook to spread the word and is looking for as many sponsors as possible. On Facebook and Twitter, Cook explains that for “$100 and a banner will hang above the lane saying, ‘this lane sponsored by ______.'”
You don’t have to be in Florida to contribute, as he is asking anyone interested in helping to email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Every football fan is eager for this lockout nonsense to come to an end, but knowing players (and these are hardly the only three doing such good things) are out there using this time to give back to others sure makes not having free-agent, or mini-camp, news much more tolerable.
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