Athletes receive a lot of criticism on their salaries and how over paid they are in comparison to other professions. I agree and I know not every athlete is charitable but more often than not athletes give back to the community. The perfect example of this is former NFL football player Randy Fuller who has given back his weight in gold in the community. Obviously not all professional athletes give back but those who don’t and even some who do should follow Fuller’s mentality.
Randy Fuller was a part of four NFL teams, the Denver Broncos, Pittsburgh Steelers, Atlanta Falcons and Seattle Seahawks. Fuller regularly gives back to all of these communities but his heart has remained in Pittsburgh. Fuller isn’t one of the most well-known or talented players in Steelers’ history, but he left his mark. Even though Fuller only played a few years in the Steel city, the fans in Pittsburgh loved him and to this day he gives back to those fans that supported him so much. A lot of the love comes from Fuller’s career highlight and claim to fame as he played a huge role in securing the Pittsburgh Steelers the 1995 American Football Conference championship. Fuller deflected (now 49ers head coach) Jim Harbaugh’s last second Hail Mary pass to secure the Steelers a trip to the Super Bowl XXX in the 95-96 NFL season in one of the NFL’s greatest games ever played (as awarded by the NFL special NFL’s Greatest Games ) between the Steelers and Indianapolis Colts. Fuller himself say’s that his favorite career memory is “pretty easy” and that “people remember him because of that play alone.”
A lot of former NFL players dance around the question of “who do you root for?” or “where was your favorite place to play?” but Fuller is not one of them. Fuller says he loves the Steelers and to this day roots for them over any NFL team. He was clear when speaking with Pro Player Insiders that he’s a “diehard Steelers fan” and he’s “excited about the things that Mike Wallace is doing.” The excitement for Fuller isn’t limited to watching current Pittsburgh players like Wallace but that excitement is displayed in the services Fuller gives back to the city he is still so attached to. Whether its raising money for schools or giving back to the underprivileged, Fuller make’s sure that the community that loved him so much receives love in return. The Western Pennsylvania School for the Deaf and Blind in particular owe a lot of thanks to the charity work Fuller has done raising money, but he doesn’t see it that way, to him it’s simply just doing what is right.
It wouldn’t be fair for Fuller to just give back to Pittsburgh and the other NFL cities he played in, he would have to give back to where he went to college, right? Well shockingly enough Fuller didn’t forget the Nashville community, close to his alma mater Tennessee. The majority of Fuller’s charitable work takes place in Nashville where he gives back to underprivileged athletes. “Getting the underprivileged back up to speed so they can try and achieve scholarships” is important to Fuller and he thinks that kids who have fallen on hard times deserve any help they can get. Those kid’s in particular deserve a chance at a college education and a career whether in sports or not according to Fuller, so this particular charity is important to him and is why he spends so much time raising money in Nashville.
Fuller isn’t the only former player to donate money, but every single player matters. I think it is truly impressive that Fuller has been so involved in charity and donating his money even after only playing a few years in the NFL. Although while in the league those few years I’m sure he set himself up for financial comfort for a long time the fact that he is giving back to the extent that he does is amazing. Every community needs a Randy Fuller and unfortunately not every community has one. Fuller’s charities have helped countless people and will continue to help those in need for years to come, an achievement that rivals any on the field accomplishment.
By Matt Bove
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