ProPlayerInsiders Exclusive: In honor of Armed Forces Day, eleven members of the 2011 NFL rookie class spent time with some veterans of the armed forces. All the rookies wore their pro jerseys with “00″ since they hadn’t yet received their NFL team numbers.
West Los Angeles Medical Center was the location where the players went room to room to visit and talk with the veterans, shake hands and sign footballs and hats as a small token of appreciation for the people who have protected our country.
“It means a lot to me personally just to be able to come to the hospital and spend time with the guys who fought hard for our freedom, fought hard for our country, said Mark Ingram RB for the New Orleans Saint. To be able to spend time with them and put a smile on their face is really priceless and means a lot to me.”
Kansas City Chiefs, WR Jon Baldwin echoed Ingram, ” It means a lot to us to come over here and show our appreciation and say thanks to these people.”
The veterans were all smiles and had plenty of questions. Most were not shy about letting the players know which teams were their favorites and which teams weren’t. All was taken in jest and resulted in even more smiles and laughter.
“It’s a humbling experience, said Alex Green WR for the Cincinnati Bengals. It’s a great honor for me just to be here and see them and be in their presence and be able to come here and make their day and make our day as well.”
“It’s definitely a humbling experience to come here and meet all the veterans and get some history behind everything they have done for our country, said Greg Little, WR for Cleveland Browns.
Chief of Staff Dr. Dean Norman said, “for the veterans, having the opportunity to meet with the NFL players is very helpful in the healing process and will make them glow for days after. Many of them are sports fans.”
In the past 20 years the facility has helped over 93,000 homeless vets with jobs, training and permanent housing. Last year, in addition to helping the homeless veterans about 85,000 came to the facility for treatment.
Jon Baldwin, WR for the Chiefs, Delone Carter, RB for the Colts, Andy Dalton, QB for the Bengals, Alex Green, RB for the Packers, Mark Ingram, RB for the Saints, Greg Little, WR for the Browns, Christian Ponder, QB for the Vikings, Bilal Powell, RB for the Jets, Kyle Rudolph, TE for the Vikings, Titus Young, WR for the Lions, and Taiwan Jones, RB for the Raiders were all on hand to make the rounds.