Defensive backs AJ Bouye and Johnathan Joseph will to use the Jaguars-Texans game in London on Nov. 3 to raise awareness of the fight against cancer. Bouye and Joseph, who have both lost parents to cancer, will donate their tickets to a lucky fan in an effort to raise more awareness for the NFL's Crucial Catch's mission to help save lives, celebrate lives, and fight for a world without cancer.
Bouye has felt the effects of cancer from a young age as he lost his mom to breast and brain cancer at the age of 2. Joseph understands that cancer can affect anyone and supports this cause to honor his late father, whom he lost to lung cancer.
"The Crucial Catch campaign is just one way that the American Cancer Society and the NFL are trying to intercept cancer," says Sharon Byers, chief development, marketing and communications officer the the American Cancer Society. "This is a once in a lifetime opportunity for a special fan experience in London, all while knowing you're helping our mission to fight cancer from every angle."
NFL fans can enter for a chance to win by donating a minimum of $10 to the American Cancer Society and can double their entry by completing the Defender Tool at crucialcatch.nfl.com.
"I understand on a deeper level how much these donations are needed in order to find a cure and save lives," Bouye says, "so I want to use my platform to raise awareness for the American Cancer Society's cause."
"Cancer affects everyone and that's why it's so important that we continue to raise funds to fight the disease. "I lost my father to lung cancer and I know the pain that it causes. I'm humbled to use my platform to help save lives through support of the American Cancer Society and to honor my father's legacy."
HISPANIC HERITAGE MONTH
The NFL and the 32 teams will celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month with a series of special events.
The ninth annual NFL Hispanic Heritage Leadership Awards will recognize contributions of Hispanic leaders in each NFL market. Each award recipient will be recognized at a game or event hosted by the local NFL team. With support from Nationwide, each recipient will select an organization of their choice that serves the local Hispanic community to receive a $2,000 donation.
"By partnering with the Hispanic Heritage Foundation and Nationwide, we are given an amazing opportunity to shine a bright light on individuals who are wholeheartedly impacting their local communities," says Marissa Fernandez, the NFL vice president of marketing strategy and fan development. "Our goal is to continually support and acknowledge the positive efforts of each leader, while also empowering others to spread kindness and generosity in their own community."
The Hispanic Heritage Foundation was established by the White House in 1987. It inspires, prepares, and connects minority leaders in the classroom, community, and workforce to meet America's priorities. HHF also promotes cultural pride, accomplishment, and the great promise of the community through public awareness campaigns.
The theme of the NFL's Hispanic Heritage Month campaign is "Feel the Orgullo (pride)."
Recipients of this year's awards range from academicians to entrpreneurs to local activists to non-profit officials.
PEYTON'S EQUIPMENT GRANTS
Riddell and Peyton Manning awarded equipment grants to 10 football organizations as part of the 2019 Smarter Football initiative.
Riddell surprised the teams through custom congratulatory videos featuring Manning, who highlighted each team's commitment to evolving the sport through smarter playing tactics.
Part of each winner's reward is $10,000 to use on Riddell's latest helmets, shoulder pads, padded apparel, and blocking equipment. Manning, now in his third year of involvement in Smarter Football, pledged personal support by offering InSite smart helmet technology to teams using grant funds to purchase new helmets. InSite is Riddell's impact monitoring system and coaching tool that identifies training opportunities and atypical head impacts for staffs, in real time, to help correct and improve player behavior.
"I'm proud to help ensure these 10 teams' commitment to player safety is taken to the next level with industry-leading protective equipment from Riddell," Manning said. "It's remarkable to learn about the difference these teams make on developing young athletes and collectively improving the sport. These organizations are truly the future of football and set a great example for others to follow."
More than 800 football teams ranging from youth to college, applied and shared their stories expressing dedication to improving the sport. This year's Smarter Football class consists of seven high schools and three youth teams, from 10 states
— Frankfort (Indiana) High School
—Wendell (Idaho) High School
—Newton Conover (North Carolina) High School
—Apalachee High School , Winder, Georgia
—Cardinal O'Hara High School, Tonawanda, New York
—Texas School for the Deaf, Austin, Texas
—Canyon Country (Calif) High School
—Farmington (Minnesota) Youth Football
—Wilkinson County Youth Football, Centreville, Mississippi
—Hummelstown (Pennsylvania) Youth Football
Dustin Colquitt still remembers the early days of his NFL career, when he would gaze across the Kansas City Chiefs locker room at longtime offensive lineman Will Shields and simply marvel at his durability.
"I remember asking for his jersey in 2005, and he said, 'I don't do jerseys until I'm done. It's bad luck,'" the Chiefs punter said. "And as soon as he retired, he showed up and gave me a signed jersey. I didn't have to ask him again. He just remembered."
On Sunday, Colquitt will suit up for the 225th time in a Chiefs uniform, surpassing Shields for the franchise record. And you can be sure that just like Colquitt all those years ago, there are plenty of young players in the Kansas City locker room that marvel at the way the 37-year-old kicker has remained among the best at his craft in the league.
"He has a tip for everything," Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes said. "He's a great mentor."
Colquitt's father, Craig, spent six years punting for Pittsburgh before finishing his career with a year in Indianapolis. His brother, Britton, has punted for Denver, Cleveland and now Minnesota over the course of his 10-year career. Even his uncle, Jimmy, spent a brief time punting in the NFL.
No wonder the Colquitt's are considered the "first family of fourth down."
Colquitt said there were plenty of times when he wondered whether he would finish his career in Kansas City, particularly in the dark days before coach Andy Reid arrived. But he remembers talking to his dad, who said, "You got to keep doing this," and how Craig always regretted going elsewhere after his days with the Steelers.
That was more than seven years ago. Now, Colquitt's set to become a Chiefs record holder.
"I knew the years were adding up and getting close," he said. "We see a lot of guys like Tom Brady, when is he ever going to be done? But I just want to play to where I'm helping the team — I can help a young kicker out. I want to do that as long as I feel good."
TALK ABOUT CONFIDENCE
Panthers quarterback Kyle Allen is plenty confident he'll do well if asked to start Sunday for the injured Cam Newton against the Cardinals.
Allen said he wasn't at all surprised how well he played in Week 17 last season when he ended Carolina's seven-game losing streak by leading the Panthers to a blowout 33-14 win over the playoff-bound Saints, saying, "No, I was ready to go."
But then confidence has never been a problem for Allen.
When Allen was younger his father, who worked at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona, befriended former Cowboys quarterback Roger Staubach. He eventually persuaded Staubach to send his young son an autographed pictured.
So what did Allen do when he received it?
"My cocky 10-year-old butt sent him a signed picture (of myself) back," Allen said with a laugh.
The Pro Football Hall of Fame and the Canton community have begun preparing to celebrate the NFL's actual 100th birthday in one year. It comes on Sept. 17, 2020.
The celebration is planned for Sept. 16-20 and expected to feature reunions of NFL players and Hall of Famers, performances by artists from the music world, and a special Centennial Class Enshrinement to commemorate the NFL's founding in downtown Canton on Sept. 17, 1920.
David Baker, the hall'spresident and CEO, extended an invitation to every living NFL legend to joinin what is being described as the "biggest gathering in pro football ever." Reunions of each of the NFL teams are planned during the event.
"This great game was built on the shoulders of the NFL legends who represent values like commitment, integrity, courage, respect and excellence," Baker says. "We will shine the spotlight on these virtues that not only makes someone great on the football field but can also teach us all how to live a 'Hall of Fame life' of character. This celebration will have a huge impact on our country."
The tentative schedule for the celebration kicks off on Sept. 16 with a Centennial Celebration gala, that will include the enshrinement of some of the members from the historic Centennial Class that will be comprised of 20 members. The Class of 2020 will include five modern-era players, 10 seniors (a player who has been retired for more than 25 seasons), three contributors (an individual other than a player or coach) and two coaches. In addition, the All-Century Awards will be presented during the gala.
AP Pro Football Writer Barry Wilner and Sports Writers Dave Skretta and Steve Reed contributed