It's not every day that you get to see Falcons players out of uniform.
For the lucky participants at Monday night's Huddle Up For Miracles at the Capital Grille in Atlanta, that was the case. Around 40 players traded their jerseys in for aprons at the request of head coach Mike Smith for the charity event, benefiting the Children's Miracle Network.
The Falcons' newest linebacker Lofa Tatupu has only been in Atlanta and with the Falcons for a few weeks, but he was happy to serve himself up in honor of a great cause.
"It wasn't mandatory," Tatupu said. "I've been in situations in the past where you were told you were required to be present. I chose to be here. There's nothing better than this, even if I'm going to embarrass myself a little bit."
The embarrassing part is why most people showed up. The Falcons players spent the evening waiting on tables, serving food to the night's guests and basically running the restaurant in the name of earning tips.
Michael Turner, Roddy White and Stephen Nicholas stood outside the front of The Capital Grille welcoming guests, specifically ladies, with flowers. Tyson Clabo carried a serving platter throughout the restaurant, offer appetizers to anyone willing to accept. John Abraham manned the elevator, asking for tips for all his hard work.
The tips the players earned will be donated to the charity, and few things are off limits. Players were instructed to get tips any way they could, within reason. Pose for pictures and then get your tip. Pull out a chair for a lady and ask for a tip. As the night proceeded, karaoke began and the expected suspects, like the always affable Sean Weatherspoon, played to the crowd. Not to be outdone, offensive linemen Joe Hawley and Justin Blalock performed, as well.
Up for auction on the evening were numerous Falcons-related prizes like a trip for two on the team's charter to an away game, the chance to be the water boy/girl for a day of training and golf with Smith and quarterback Matt Ryan.
Hand-painted plates were handed out at the end of the evening to certain deserving Falcons for their efforts on the evening. Honors included "Most Spirited," "Best Performer," "Most Fumbles" and "Most Charming."
In 2010, Roddy White took home top honors for the player earning the most tips. In 2009, former quarterback DJ Shockley led the tip-total pack.