Good Guys: Gridiron Greats Give Back


Last month, NFL Fan Blitz featured an article spotlighting Patrick Mahomes and his 15 and the Mahomies charitable foundation. This week, we also shared a piece on Kansas City Chiefs punter, Dustin Colquitt. This piece highlighted his awesome work with Team Smile.

I have both researched and wrote both articles. Along with that, I witnessed Mahomes’ official announcement of 15 and the Mahomies on Jimmy Fallon earlier this week. After all of that, I had to wonder, “What other players in the NFL are good guys?”

The sheer number of professional football players who ‘pay it forward’ is astounding. These selfless athletes help others. And not for the intention to glorify their own name.  Rather, they use their fame and fortune to help people they care for and benefit causes they believe in.


Highlighted below are a few NFL players who routinely give back to the community. By no means comprehensive, it is a compilation of current gridiron greats whose off-field dedication equally matches their on-field dedication. There are other athletes out there who give just as much, if not more. If you are a fan of one of these players, and/or their foundation, please comment on this article to help spread the word.

J.J. Watt (Houston Texans)

When it comes to charity, the Texan linebacker is as tenacious as he is in opposing backfields. His JJ Watt Foundation has funded over $4,600,000 to schools in 35 states & DC since its founding. His organization provides after-school opportunities for middle-school aged children within the community to become involved in athletics. The goal is that the kids learn the character traits of accountability, teamwork, leadership, work ethic, and perseverance in a safe and supervised environment with their peers.


Moreover, when Houston was hit hard by Hurricane Harvey, Watts initiated the Houston Flood Relief Fundraiser.  Watts raised over $37 million dollars for the devastated community and his goal was only $200,000!

Richard Sherman (San Francisco 49ers)

With perhaps the most aptly-named foundation, Richard Sherman’s Blanket Coverage provides students in low-income communities with school supplies and clothing to adequately achieve their goals. The clutch cornerback was inspired by his childhood idol, Magic Johnson, when he was a student at Dominguez High School in Compton, California.  The Los Angeles Lakers legend spoke to Sherman and his classmates on the importance of setting and achieving goals.

Brandon Marshall (Oakland Raiders)

Once described by a teammate as “… a defensive lineman playing wide receiver,” the hard-charging, wide receiver co-founded Project 375 with wife, Michi Marshall. Mrs. Marshall is certified in Behavioral Forensics and Behavioral Profiling as she holds a B.A in Psychology along with a B.S in Criminal Justice.

Project 375 came into existence after the WR was diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD).  Marshall’s goal has been to promote awareness of mental health, end the stigma, and raise funding for treatment.


Ndamukong Suh (Free Agent)

He is often criticized as one of the dirtiest players in the league. But off the field, free agent defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh is a different person. Suh, the founder of The Ndamukong Suh Family Foundation, was the most charitable athlete in the United States in 2010.  He donated over $2.6 million to the University of Nebraska alone.

Tyreek Hill (Kansas City Chiefs)

The Chiefs’ speedy and elusive wide receiver initiated The Tyreek Hill Foundation, also known as the Cheetah Foundation. Hill’s organization sponsors toy distributions, Thanksgiving drives, children hospital visits, and a host of other events throughout the year. The mission of the foundation seeks to impact single-parent households and at-risk youth in the Kansas City community through education, wellness, and fitness.

Too often, we are all-too-quick to harshly judge a few players for their off-field misconduct. Hill has recently been under fire for abuse allegations. Should we not also praise the vast majority who constantly and consistently make a huge difference for those less fortunate?

Again, bear in mind, that these are just a few NFL players who help make a difference in our society. There are a plethora of players to go along with the ones previously mentioned.  Former heavyweight champion, Muhammad Ali once quipped, “Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on Earth.”


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