Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Big Men, Bigger Hearts: Aaron Stinnie Represents Big Man Foundation for My Cause, My Cleats in Honor of Former Coach

The Buccaneers’ offensive lineman sits on the board of the Big Man Foundation, which was founded in honor of his late college offensive line coach.

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"A good coach will impact more people in one year than the average person will in a lifetime."

That's a quote from Billy Graham that sits front and center on the website page for the Big Man Foundation, a volunteer-based 501c3 charity, and it rings especially true for Buccaneers offensive lineman and Big Man Foundation Board Member Aaron Stinnie, who credits his offensive line coach at James Madison University, Jamal Powell, with helping him find his way to a now five-year career in the NFL, despite starting as a defensive lineman in college.

"He's the one that honestly helped me get to where I am today," Stinnie said. "Coach Powell meant so much to me and to have the foundation in his name was really big to me. It was something I wanted to be a part of because I don't think I would have gotten to where I am today without him."

The Big Man Foundation is an organization started in 2021 by Stinnie's former college teammate, Casey Kroll, following the ultimate passing of their former coach this past April at the age of 39 due to complications from colon cancer. Prior to his cancer diagnosis, Powell had been diagnosed with Guillain-Barre Syndrome, which sidelined him from coaching as the medical treatments and bills piled up. Powell's former protégés saw what the family went through in that time period and decided to do something about it. Now, the foundation aims to deliver social, emotional, and financial support for coaches — and their families — who have fallen on hard times due to illness and other unexpected circumstances.

"Him and his family are a part of my family," Stinnie said. "Blood couldn't make us any closer."

Despite the glamour a career in football can suggest, a lack of stability is the nature of the business and it can be daunting if life takes some unexpected turns. It makes the work of the Big Man Foundation that much more important.

As the foundation gets up and running to help other coaches battling unfortunate circumstances, as the organization's donor relations director and NFL liaison, Stinnie saw an opportunity through the NFL's My Cause, My Cleats initiative to raise awareness about their mission. He was involved in every part of the design process of the cleats he'll now be wearing this Sunday in Atlanta.

"I have the organization on one cleat and then I wanted to represent him on my other one," Stinnie said. "It was my way of paying tribute to him because of everything that he's done for me and everything his family has done for me."

Buccaneers players are representing more than 50 causes this year. It's the league's sixth consecutive season raising awareness for player-chosen non-profit organizations through My Cause, My Cleats and all teams will be participating in Week 13. Players will then have the choice to auction their cleats off in a fundraising effort for their individual causes. Fans can bid on their favorite participating player's cleats here once the auction is live.

If you want to learn more about Stinnie's cause and how you can help, you can visit their website at: https://www.thebigmanfoundation.org/

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