New York Jets Offer Words of Praise and Thanks to the Troops

By Brian Price, Reporter for SNY

The New York Jets have arguably been the most talked about team this off-season. A 2010 trip to the AFC championship, followed by several big off-season moves, and the opening of a new stadium already has the football world talking about a green Super Bowl. Additionally, HBO will be arriving at Jets training camp to feature the team on “Hard Knocks.” But despite all this attention, when it comes to the troops the Jets have remained grounded and humble. They were all eager to take a moment to offer words of thanks and to share some of their own connections to those serving in combat zones and disaster areas.

Jets running back Tony Richardson tells Brian Price about his connection to the military. (Photo courtesy of Ben Leit)

Brian Price: You have several family members in service.
Tony Richardson, #49, FB: Growing up in a military family was the best thing that ever happened to me. My father was a Vietnam veteran and lifelong military man. The little things that he taught me have always stuck with me: if I’m going to do something I’m going to give it 100%. Little things like always making my bed each morning strengthened my character and have carried over to my professional life. From a very young age I was always very disciplined.

My father was a model of consistency. Everyday he was up early, never complained, and his uniform was sharp. He was just the same guy everyday and that taught me a lot about doing things over and over again, but always doing them the right way.

My sister is still in service. She’s at Fort Bragg in North Carolina. She’s the same way and now teaching my nephew the same values.

Sometimes people look at us as being heroes but, and I say it all the time, the troops are America’s true heroes. Without them we couldn’t do our job and live our lives. They lay their lives on the line and are willing to make the ultimate sacrifice for us. That’s what a true hero is.

Richardson’s father, Sergeant Major Ben Richardson, was a career army man. His sister, Shonn, is a Staff Sergeant in the U.S. Army. She’s in line for a promotion to E.A.

Kris Jenkins, #77, DT: My baby brother is part of the air division in Afghanistan. I’m always thinking about him and anybody else who’s serving. I’m just thankful and grateful and I hope they get home safe.

Whatever my biggest problem is, football related or not, it can’t compare to what he’s going through. He’s over there dodging bullets. They call him Goose, but his name is Chance McDaniel. He’s on his third tour so this will be his last one and we’re praying that he gets home safe.

Bart Scott, #57, LB: My father went to Vietnam, so I understand the pain of families and kids who have a loved one overseas. There’s no phrase or words that can be used to thank them enough. All we can do is say thank you and hope they know how much we’re praying for them and how much we appreciate them.

In sports, some say, “We’re going to war.” No. They’re going to war for real. Young men and women, college students, who have bright futures ahead of them and yet they’re willing to pay the ultimate price.

With the war having gone on for some time now people tend to forget because it’s not in the moment. The fact of the matter is there are still men and women over there continuing to fight and die for us. I just hope we get our troops back safely to their families. I appreciate that they’re willing to make a sacrifice that we could never imagine.

Mark Sanchez expresses his gratitude to the Troops with Price. (Photo Courtesy of Ben Leit)

BP: What goes through your mind during the National Anthem?
Mark Sanchez, #6, QB: During warm-ups I’m focused on the game, but it’s during those moments when the anthem is played that I can step away from the game, reflect and appreciate the opportunity to be able to play because of the sacrifices that so many have made.

On behalf of the New York Jets we just want to express our appreciation for our servicemen and women and everything you do for us. We’re with you and thank you for allowing us to have our freedom.

Damien Woody, #67, OT: Hearing the National Anthem is one of the most special moments on game day. Everything that’s happened in history and everything that’s going on today seems to build to that moment. We’re able to play these football games and live out our dreams. We know that while we play a game people are at war. It really makes me emotional in that moment. I’m not just speaking for myself on that. There are a lot of players in this locker room, and many others around in the NFL, who feel the same way.

Trust me, with a lot of family and friends in the service I understand what it takes to do that job. I don’t think I could do it myself. It’s a tough responsibility and it takes a special kind of person to serve. I’m just so appreciative of what they do. I feel privileged to play in the National Football League but a lot of the liberties that I have wouldn’t be possible without the ladies and gentlemen fighting overseas and doing what they do everyday to protect us from foreign combatants.

BP: You’ve spent time with the troops, right?
D’Brickashaw Ferguson, #60, OT: I had a chance to go out to Fort Wainwright in Alaska to speak with men and women of the army. Now I wasn’t on the front but I was on a base. I got a chance to meet not just troops but military families. It was a great opportunity to be face to face with some of the bravest people on earth. I think it was rewarding for them and we went there to show our support but I ended up learning a lot through the experience.

BP: Like what? How was your perspective changed?
DF: There’s still war going on but the news may turn its focus to other things. It’s important to always remain aware that there are still people risking their lives everyday for us whether we hear about it on the news or not.

BP: Do you have some words for our troops?
Calvin Pace, #97, LB: I just want to say thank you. Come home safe. Everybody appreciates what you do by putting your lives on the line, keeping us safe, and keeping us free. God bless.

Ladainian Tomlinson, #21, RB: Look, we’re entertainers that really give the people a chance to enjoy the freedom of watching the game. But from my perspective the troops are the reason we’re able to play this game. What they’re doing is keeping us safe. I maintain my perspective by always keeping an eye on what’s going on with the troops. We’re all so appreciative.

Danny Woodhead, #83, WR: They’re fighting with their lives to defend our country. The troops deserve all the credit they get, and they deserve even more. They can’t be praised enough. We play football and at times it may seem like a big deal but in the grand scheme of things what the troops do is way more important. Thanks for all you do. You make us proud.

Dustin Keller, #81,TE: You sometimes hear an athlete say: “We’re putting our bodies on the line,” or “ we’re going to war.” It’s a game. Our troops put their lives on the line for us. That always has to be appreciated. I have the utmost respect for those in the service.

Shonn Greene, #23, RB: I just appreciate the troops and everything that they do. A lot of people don’t realize how tough it is to be out there. With everybody else back here going about their lives they may not realize it. The troops are greatly appreciated and on behalf of the Jets organization I want to say thank you.

Dwight Lowery, #26, CB: They put their lives on the line for something that’s greater than themselves. We greatly admire and appreciate them. I’m not the type of guy that could go out and do what they do. I have nothing but respect for the troops.

Shaun Ellis, #92, DE: I want to thank the troops for supporting us, having our backs and keeping us safe. God Bless.

David Harris, #52, LB: Their service can’t be measured with words. They put their lives on the line everyday for you and me. We’re all so thankful for the liberties that we have today that the troops provide. Get home safe.

We would like to thank Brian Price of SNY for this post and we’d also like to thank Bruce Speight and the entire Jets front office for their help.

Bonus Pics from the NFL Tour!

Their tour may have ended, but the great pics keep coming!  Check out these amazing images with NFL stars Drew Brees, Billy Miller, and Donnie Edwards.  And don’t forget to scroll to the bottom of the post for a video from DVIDS!

New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees gets rushed by service members as he plays an exhibition football game with troops at Camp Lemonnier in Djibouti on March 29, 2010. Brees is in the region as part of a nine-day USO tour designed to boost morale and bring troops a touch of home. (USO photo by Michael Clifton)

New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees (Left) and tight end Billy Miller run to complete a U.S. Marine Corps grenade training exercise at Camp Lemonnier in Djibouti on March 29, 2010. Joined by fellow NFL'er Donnie Edwards, the trio is in the region as part of a nine-day USO tour designed to boost morale and bring troops a touch of home. (USO photo by Michael Clifton)

New Orleans Saints tight end Billy Miller is seen through the smoke, dust and sand atop an LAV (Light Armored Vehicle) belonging to the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit at Camp Lemonnier in Djibouti on March 29, 2010. Miller was joined by teammate and Super Bowl MVP Drew Brees and NFL player Donnie Edwards, as part of their third USO tour together. (USO photo by Michael Clifton)

An Indianapolis Colts fan gives his team a shout-out as New Orelans Saints quarterback Drew Brees, former Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Donnie Edwards and New Orleans Saints tight end Billy Miller ride by during a training excerise on March 29, 2010 . This was the third annual USO tour for the trio, who visited troops in Japan in 2008 and spent time with those stationed in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, in 2009. (USO photo by Michael Clifton)

NFL players Billy Miller, Donnie Edwards and Drew Brees participate in a training exercise with U.S. Marines attached to the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit at Camp Lemonnier in Djibouti on March 29, 2010. Part of a week-long USO tour, the group met with thousands of service men and women. (USO photo by Michael Clifton)

New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees, former Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Donnie Edwards and New Orleans Saints tight end Billy Miller board a V-22 Osprey in route to the USS Nassau on March 29, 2010. Traveling on their third USO tour together, the NFL trio also visited troops in Turkey and Dubaii as part of their nine-day USO tour. (USO photo by Michael Clifton)

Brees, Miller, and Edwards Wrap Up a Fantastic USO Tour

New Orleans Saints quarterback and Super Bowl MVP Drew Brees perpares to go long, March 28, 2010. Here the Super Bowl champion engages in a friendly competition, "Great Quarterback Shootout," with Sailors and Marines of the USS Nassau. (USO photo by Michael Clifton)

As their latest tour ended, NFL stars Drew Brees, Billy Miller, and Donnie Edwards took some time to reflect on the experience.  Enjoy their words and their pictures, too!

Drew Brees: “It has been a big year for the Saints. We played hard all season and along the way fulfilled a lifelong dream. And now it’s time for us to celebrate our victory with troops serving overseas. I look forward to heading out on what will be my fifth USO tour and to focusing on what matters most – those who volunteer to put themselves in harm’s way for us each and every day: our troops.”

Billy Miller: “To me, going out on USO tours and spending time with troops is not about traveling to different countries, or losing out on time with my family during the off season. It is about lifting spirits at various military outposts and gaining time with our men and women in uniform. I just wish everyone had this opportunity.”

Donnie Edwards: “If it weren’t for our Armed Forces, I wouldn’t know what it was like to have the freedom to vote, much less play football professionally. We, as Americans, owe them our respect and our time. And one of the many ways I honor them is by working with the USO and going out on tours to convey my appreciation.”

Super Bowl MVP Drew Brees (center), NFL veteran Donnie Edwards (left of Brees) and Saints tight end Billy Miller (right of Brees) poses with members of the 39th Security Squadron at Incirlik Air Base, Turkey, March 24, 2010. (USO photo by Michael Clifton.)

New Orleans Saints quarterback and Super Bowl MVP Drew Brees signs this fans Indianapolis Colts blanket, March 28, 2010. Hundreds of Sailors and Marines, of the USS Nassau, came out to visit the Super Bowl champion. Brees is joined by teammate Billy Miller and NFL player Donnie Edwards, the trio will visit troops in Africa, Turkey and the Persian Gulf. (USO photo by Michael Clifton)

NFL and USO tour veteran Donnie Edwards signs an autorgraph for Marines and Sailors of the USS Nassau, March 28, 2010. Edwards is joined by fellow NFL players Drew Brees and Billy Miller, this marks the third USO tour for the trio, who will visit troops in Africa, Turkey and the Persian Gulf. (USO photo by Michael Clifton)

Sailors and Marines of the USS Nassau lined up to meet NFL players Drew Brees, Billy Miller and Donnie Edwards, March 28, 2010. Hundreds of troops lined-up for an opportunity to meet and get autographs from the NFL trio, who are participating in their third USO tour together. (USO photo by Michael Clifton)

(L to R) NFL's Billy Miller, Drew Brees and Donnie Edwards pose for photos with members of Maritime Expeditionary Security Squadron Four stationed in Dubaii on March 27, 2010. This is the trio's third USO tour. (USO photo by Michael Clifton)

Former Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Donnie Edwards (R) signs an autograph for U.S. Navy Gunners Mate Second Class Marvin Leon Ford, Jr. while in Dubaii on March 27, 2010. (USO photo by Michael Clifton)

Football's "Most Valueable Player" Drew Brees (R) poses for a photo with PS2 Lisa Dadurn of Pensacola, FL during a USO visit to Dubaii on March 27, 2010. While taking the picture, Brees holds up "Flat Stanley", a project of Dadura's second grade neice in Ft. Worth, TX. (USO photo by Michael Clifton)

NFL All-Stars Wrap Up Their Tour of the Persian Gulf

It was a great USO Tour for San Francisco 49ers tight end Vernon Davis, Cleveland Browns offensive tackle Joe Thomas, Houston Texans defensive end Mario Williams, and Dallas Cowboys tight end Jason Witten.  Check out their last set of pics!

San Francisco 49ers Vernon Davis signs autographs for troops, also on-hand were members of the ANA (Afghanistan National Army)(R), March 7, 2010. Davis recently took part in his first USO tour and was joined by fellow NFL players Joe Thomas-Cleveland Browns, Mario Williams-Houston Texans and Jason Witten-Dallas Cowboys. (USO Photo by Dave Gatley)

NFL All-Stars (L-R) Dallas Cowboys Jason Witten, Cleveland Browns Joe Thomas, Houston Texans Mario Williams and San Francisco 49ers Vernon Davis pose with troops, March 6, 2010. The four players recently took part in their first USO tour. (USO Photo by Dave Gatley)

NFL All-Star player Mario Williams - Houston Texans signs autographs at this patriotically decorated Forward Operating Base (FOB), March 7, 2010. Williams recently participated in his first USO tour, on a mission to boost troop morale the All-Star player trekked throughout the Persian Gulf and signed autographs, posed for photos and spent time with our nation's finest. (USO Photo by Dave Gatley)

(L-R) Houston Texans Mario Williams, Dallas Cowboys Jason Witten, San Francisco 49ers Vernon Davis and Cleveland Browns Joe Thomas pose in front of the USO Pat Tillman Center, March 5, 2010. (USO Photo by Dave Gatley)

San Francisco 49ers Vernon Davis shares an intimate moment with this group of Marines, March 6, 2010. Davis recently participated in his first USO tour and was joined by fellow NFL All-Stars Cleveland Browns Joe Thomas, Houston Texans Mario Williams and Dallas Cowboys Jason Witten. (USO Photo by Dave Gatley)

Troops pour into the USO Pat Tillman Center for a chance to meet with NFL Pro Bowlers Vernon Davis-San Francisco 49ers, Joe Thomas-Cleveland Browns, Mario Williams-Houston Texans and Jason Witten-Dallas Cowboys, March 5, 2010. (USO Photo by Dave Gatley)

NFL Players Spend Their Off-Season in Southwest Asia

NFL players (L) Mario Williams-Houston Texans, Joe Thomas-Cleveland Browns (L-next to Williams), Jason Witten-Dallas Cowboys (center) and Vernon Davis-San Francisco 49ers (kneeling next to Witten) pose with the entire crew supporting the defensive missile system, March 3, 2010. On an eight-day, nine-base USO tour the four players are on a mission to visit with troops, sign autographs and boost morale. (USO Photo by Dave Gatley)

NFL player Jason Witten-Dallas Cowboys poses for a photo with Cowboys fans ontop of a Humvee proudly displaying a Cowboys flag, which Witten later autographed, March 3, 2010. Traveling on his first USO tour Witten is joined by fellow NFL All Stars Vernon Davis-San Francisco 49ers, Joe Thomas-Cleveland Browns and Mario Williams-Houston Texans. (USO Photo by Dave Gatley)

NFL players (L-R) Joe Thomas-Cleveland Browns, Jason Witten-Dallas Cowboys (background-green), Mario Williams-Houston Texans (R-Center), and Vernon Davis-San Francisco 49ers (R) sign autographs for the crew of a C-17 cargo aircraft at the airbase, March 3, 2010. (USO Photo by Dave Gatley)

Mario Williams-Houston Texans gets a bird's eye view from the pilots seat of a C-17 while Jason Witten-Dallas Cowboys talks shop with Captain Paul Tucker. The NFL players are traveling on their first USO tour and are joined by fellow NFL All Stars Vernon Davis-San Francisco 49ers and Joe Thomas- Cleveland Browns, March 3, 2010. Traveling to nine bases in eight days the players will visit with troops, sign autographs and extend their thanks. (USO Photo by Dave Gatley)

NFL players Joe Thomas-Cleveland Brown (C) and Jason Witten-Dallas Cowboys (R) get a tour of an RC 135/JSTARS aircraft from a service member, March 3, 2010. The two Pro Bowl players are joined by fellow Pro Bowlers Vernon Davis-San Francisco 49ers and Mario Williams-Houston Texans on their first USO tour, traveling to nine bases in eight days the players will sign autographs, participate in meet and greets and extend their grattitude to troops. (USO Photo by Dave Gatley)

NFL players Jason Witten-Dallas Cowbys (L), Joe Thomas-Cleveland Browns (L-middle), Mario Williams-Houston Texans (R-middle) and Vernon Davis-San Francisco 49ers (R) pose for a group shot with the ground and air crew of a RC 135/JSTARS aircraft behind them, March 3, 2010. The four NFL All Stars are taking part in their first USO tour, traveling to nine bases in eight days to boost morale, sign autographs and extend their thanks to America's troops. (USO Photo by Dave Gatley)

NFL players Vernon Davis-San Francisco 49ers (L-middle), Joe Thomas-Cleveland Browns(Left), Mario Williams-Houston Texans (R-middle) and Jason Witten-Dallas Cowboys (R) peer out the cargo door of a KC135-Aerial Tanker as they touchdown in the Persian Gulf, March 3, 2010. The NFL 2010 All Star players are traveling on their first USO tour, the players will trek to nine bases in eight days to boost morale and bring a touch of home to troops. (USO Photo by Dave Gatley)

NFL players Vernon Davis-San Francisco 49ers (L), Mario Williams-Houston Texans (L-middle), Joe Thomas-Cleveland Brown (R-middle) and Jason Witten-Dallas Cowboys (R) pose for a photo with the crew of the B-i Bombers, March 3, 2010. The 2010 NFL All Stars are traveling on an eight-day, nine-base trek through the Persian Gulf on a mission to boost morale and extend their thanks to America's troops. (USO Photo by Dave Gatley)

USO Grafenwoehr Brings the Super Bowl to Troops!

You don’t have to live Stateside to enjoy a proper Super Bowl party with the USO!

USO Grafenwoehr started off SuperBowl Sunday with an Xbox 360 Madden 10 Football Tournament.  The winners got a camo water pack, a Germany stein and a computer game for first, second and third place.

Troops got to watch the Super Bowl on four TVs, two of which were connected to the NFL Game Pass so they were able to enjoy the American commercials.

The center received donations of finger foods and snacks galore, t-shirts and had a drawing for a football jersey of the winners’ choice.  Brandon Bucknor from Vilseck was the big winner.

The75 soldiers had a great time “at the game,” showing that all it took was a few touches of home from the USO to make it seem like they were all in Miami!

Here are some pics from the party: