ORLANDO, Fla., Feb. 4, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Their size, speed, and Pro Bowl practice jerseys made it easy to differentiate the NFL stars from the injured veterans in a flag football game in Orlando recently. But as to who was having more fun…that was tougher to tell.
"I'm getting more out of it than they are," Pittsburgh Steelers cornerback Joe Haden said with a smile during a break in the game.
"It was truthfully one of the best events I've ever attended," said wounded warrior and 21-year Air Force veteran Vince Loran.
This year marked the third consecutive year the NFL has brought together the league's best for the annual scrimmage with warriors and their families at ESPN's Wide World of Sports Complex. More than 40 veterans participated in the Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) event, along with 10 Pro Bowl players.
"It challenged us physically, but we gelled quickly as a team, which we do so well in the military," Vince said. "That was paramount."
It wasn't hard for Buffalo Bills receiver Andre Roberts — who attended The Citadel military college in South Carolina — to connect with warriors.
"I'm from a military family – both of my parents are in the Army," Andre said.
He recognized shared values between the players and warriors but also made it clear how they're different.
"There are some similarities in the competing and striving to be great, but their world is completely different than ours, and we understand that, too," Andre said.
Tennessee Titans punter Brett Kern shared that sense of gratitude.
"We can't play the game of football without wounded warriors and the sacrifices they've made," Brett said.
The game was part of a special weekend for Seattle Seahawks cornerback Shaquill Griffin, who played college football at the nearby University of Central Florida. He's passionate about giving back to those who have kept our country safe.
"We never want to forget everything they've done for us," Shaquill said. "The same way they look up to us, we look up to them because they're protecting us."
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About Wounded Warrior Project
Since 2003, Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) has been meeting the growing needs of warriors, their families, and caregivers – helping them achieve their highest ambition. Learn more.
SOURCE Wounded Warrior Project