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NFL players bond with service members on first NFL-USO tour since pandemic-forced hiatus

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The purpose of the trip was to see and learn an assortment of basic activities, including unit tours, K-9 training, and one-on-one meetings for mission briefings. Players also spent time with service members and their families. Additionally, they connected virtually with military personnel in Germany and Poland, which was a “humiliating experience” for Moore.

“I held back an appreciation for our military because that’s something I didn’t know much about before this trip,” Moore added. “I have so much respect for people who risk their lives to give us our freedom, whether they’re in combat or not.”

What has perhaps stood out to players the most is the passion and attention to detail behind each task – much like what happens in any game on a Sunday afternoon. ‘fall. Players and service men and women connected on this common point.

Beck had a different way of relating to the kids who attended the football clinic he attended midweek.

“Growing up around the military definitely gives me a unique perspective,” he said. “I remember moving around a lot and, especially in terms of football, thinking, ‘How am I going to be recruited?’ My dad was adamant that if I worked hard and did my part, the coaches and scouts would come to me, and luckily it worked. But that’s the message I try to get across to the kids, that just because your life might be different because you’re on base or away, your dreams are still possible. I was in their shoes.

Like Beck, Felton and Moore were able to create their own connections to the military. The Colts’ sixth-grade corner befriended Ricky, an Air Force member wearing a Colts hoodie.

“We were about to leave for the day, and he came to the van. I could see his enthusiasm, and I wanted him to feel comfortable and show him the love and support he has. showed me as a Colts fan,” Moore recalled. , who gave Ricky his hat and signed a soccer ball. “For me, I’m just a kid from a small town in Georgia, so I’m not used to people reacting that way when they meet me. It was cool to have that moment with Ricky. We’ve been keeping in touch via social media, and I’m hoping I can bring him to a Colts game, so I can show my appreciation, and he can see the game-day production in person. “

Although the USO tour only lasted a few days, it seemed clear that the memories and mutual respect shared between the players and those on the base will last a lifetime. As the players recounted, it was a unique and eye-opening experience that forever connected Beck, Felton, and Moore to servicemen and women and their families living in Alaska.

Reflecting on the trip, Beck summed it up like this:

“Their resilience is incredible.”