Tuesdays are usually days off for players in the NFL, but this week, the Falcons spent their day off a little bit differently. All across Atlanta on Tuesday, the Falcons roster went out and about, trying to do a little good for the community that calls for them to rise up each week on the football field.
As part of the NFL's Hometown Huddle initiative, a partnership with the United Way that gets NFL players out into the community, the Falcons spent time Tuesday morning at area elementary schools, hospitals, businesses and other organizations that serve the Atlanta community. No matter where the players went on Tuesday, they offered a helping hand and shared in a lot of smiles.
The kids at Venetian Elementary had no idea they'd be taking PE with Roddy White when they walked into class Tuesday morning, but when White walked in, they knew things would be a little different. Among teammates with White were William Moore and Robert McClain and cheers went up when the Falcons walked in, but it wasn't long before it was the Falcons cheering on their new classmates. Players led kids through rotating stations where they completed different exercises and drills.
While Hometown Huddle is an NFL-sponsored event, every player is not required to participate. The Falcons are the only organization that involves their entire roster during Hometown Huddle. Even future Hall of Famers got in on the action Tuesday. Tony Gonzalez didn't spare any high-fives with the kids at his school. When students came to his drill at Connally Elementary, everyone got to rub elbows with the great one.
In total the Falcons visited 13 different locations around Atlanta. While some players were racing with kids, others put on their hair nets and got into the kitchen. The Atlanta Falcons Rookie Club spent the day at Project Open Hand, an organization that provides fresh and nutritious meals to Atlanta's homebound and chronically ill citizens.
Rookie linebackers Paul Worrilow and Joplo Bartu helped make cookies in one part of the kitchen, while Levine Toilolo, Malliciah Goodman and others ran the assembly line process of placing the food into packaging that would be delivered to those in need later this week. They're still rookies and not quite as experienced as some teammates in the kitchen, so Tuesday was a learning experience for them as well, but Toilolo said it was also great to spend time with others donating their time.
"We got to learn a little bit about what they do," Toilolo said. "Just to be able to come out and give back to the community, the entire team, it's awesome to be a part of it. That's a big thing with coach (Mike) Smith. It's different and we get to come out and interact with other people that volunteer their own time to be a part of this community. I think everyone here enjoys when we get the chance to do that."
All over the city, the Falcons joined the everyday members of Atlanta that are working to serve our community. Falcons players and staff donated their time on Tuesday to make Atlanta better and you can too by joining Rise Up Atlanta, a citywide movement with the Falcons. Join the thousands of volunteers working to make our city better each and every day.