QB Chris Simms ran some plays with the Robinson High varsity team after speaking to the squad about the importance of education
Anthony McFarland and Chris Simms used their off day to deliver important messages about education and informed decision-making…Plus, Brooks effort raises $22,000 for Pensacola
Two days removed from competing in a football game, a player's body is still in recovery mode. Aches, pains and bruises serve as reminders of the physical toll visited on one's body by the game. On Tuesday though, two days after Tampa Bay's game against Seattle, two Buccaneer players put those reminders aside and set out a different goal in mind: to make a difference in the community.
Defensive Tackle Anthony McFarland and Quarterback Chris Simms, both of whom played significant roles against the Seahawks, targeted different schools with their respective programs.
In the morning, McFarland, who had two of the Bucs' four sacks on Sunday, kicked off his "Booger's Bucs Can Wait" program at Ferrell and Pierce Middle Schools. The program works to educate kids on making informed decisions on difficult issues.
"It's an education program," said McFarland. "We talk about drugs, tobacco, alcohol and sex. It's a program that gives kids the facts for decision making. I think that there a lot of young, smart and very talented kids out here, and we have to give them the ability to acquire knowledge. Knowledge is power.
"The more knowledge and power they get, the better decisions they can make about the issues we talk about. I believe that there are certain factors that can inhibit kids from being successful – drugs, alcohol, tobacco and sexual relations. I try to give them information about those things in the hopes that they'll make good decisions when these issues come up."
As part of the program's kickoff, McFarland spoke to assemblies at both schools. He presented an educational video and answered questions on how to handle the decision-making process.
"We're trying to get as much information out to these kids as possible," said McFarland. "I believe that everyone is smart, and when these kids get good information we allow them to make smart decisions."
McFarland's program focuses on educating students about more than just subjects in school – he wants to teach them about life. His slogan, "Get the facts before you act," best describes the message behind his program. As an incentive for the students to embrace his program, McFarland provides tickets to Buccaneer home games for them as part of his "Booger's Bucs Can Wait" group.
"Like it or not, oftentimes public figures are put in a position to be looked up to," said McFarland. "I feel like I'm privileged to do this – I don't see it as a responsibility. To get the opportunity to help teachers and principles teach the kids more about life is great. School is a part of life – life is not a part of school. When you look at it that way, we need to get these kids information that will help them out in life and enable them to make better decisions."
For more information about the "Booger's Bucs Can Wait" program, please log on to www.icwfoundation.org.
In the afternoon, Simms surprised members of the Robinson High School football team as part of the "Play It Smart" program. A high school, community-based program developed by the NFL, Play it Smart seeks to use the sport experience as a means for preparing youth for constructive futures. Simms, who played roughly three quarters on Sunday in his regular-season NFL debut, first spoke to the junior varsity squad in study hall about the importance of balancing academics with athletics.
"It's great for Chris to come out, especially talking to the young guys on JV," said Play it Smart Academic Coach Kent Wilson. "They really don't understand yet what the commitment to both academics and athletics is. To hear Chris relay to them the importance of academics to him in high school, college and as a Buccaneer, it's really unbelievable. I can stand up there and talk about it all day long, but to hear it from someone like Chris is going to have a much bigger impact. These kids are going to be on Cloud Nine for the rest of the week."
Simms then made his way to the varsity practice. He visited with the players while they were stretching and afterwards ran a few plays with the first-team offense. He also shared a number of tips and pointers with the starting quarterback.
"I tell you, Chris coming out here really loosened things up," said Head Coach Mike DePue. "We had a tough loss last week, and him coming out here and talking to the kids and throwing with them really put a spark in them. It changes the monotony of the practice, and it's really an honor and privilege for him to come out here and spend some time with us."
For Simms, the afternoon visit was equally rewarding.
"It's always a great feeling to get back out here," said Simms. "I'm only 24 years old – I was in high school only six years ago. I can still relate to them, and it was just good to get out here and see some young, fresh faces and listen to some kids who truly love the game and have fun playing it.
"It definitely brought me back a little bit, gave me some old memories. It really helps you remember what football is all about and why you play the game."
For more information, please log on to www.playitsmart.org.
Brooks, Buccaneers Raise Money For Ivan Victims
Derrick Brooks Charities and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers received over $12,000 from fan donations prior to last Sunday's home game against the Seattle Seahawks. Brooks will also donate an addition $10,000 for his 10-tackle performance against Seattle. The funds collected will be directed to appropriate Hurricane Ivan relief efforts in Brooks' hometown of Pensacola, FL.
For more information on how you can help, please log on to www.derrickbrookscharities.org.