Atlanta Falcons safety William Moore moved back and forth across the front of the classroom, looking into the eyes of the 15 students sitting in front of him, touching them with the words he spoke.
In a surprise visit Tuesday afternoon to Westside Works, a neighborhood program that began in June and helps create job training in the community, Moore motivated the group during one of the organization's daily lunch and learns about success, telling personal stories about the successes and failures he has encountered along the way.
Throughout the classroom, Moore connected with the men on many different levels. When he praised God for giving him the opportunities he had to get to where he is today, mumbled Amen's could be heard. When he referenced his family's backbone, his grandmother, who passed away during Moore's first season with the Falcons, heads nodded throughout the room in understanding, accompanied by hushed agreements.
But he didn't stop there.
Moore spoke about second chances, praising each person in the class for taking advantage of the opportunity they've been given to receive the construction education they've been learning over the course of four weeks.
After a week off practice for the bye week, the Falcons went back to work in preparation for this week's game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
"I had the chance to earn my degree," said Moore. "That's one thing nobody can take from me, because I worked hard for it. I know what it takes to get to the top. It's all about a second chance."
Not holding back, Moore continued to let the group see the person he is off the field, telling them that although it's great to play on Sundays, it's about coming out into the community and having the opportunity to talk to groups like them and give words of encouragement.
As he finished, Moore reiterated working together as a team, telling them that even if they are each from different backgrounds, they are more powerful together than they are individually. Trusting and depending on the person next to you is a valuable lesson he's learned on the football field, and he urged them to remember that.
"(Falcons Owner and Chairman Arthur Blank and CEFGA executive director Scott Shelar) are putting trust in you guys that you are going to get it done," Moore said with a big grin. "They've got some kind of faith and belief that you guys are going to get it done. You guys have got faith and belief in yourself, and (in) Mr. Blank, to show them that you're going to get it done."