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USO

  • By National Football League
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USO
Champ Bailey, Davin Joseph, J.J. Watt, Steve Smith, D'Qwell Jackson and Von Miller join soldiers in the Middle East as part of the 2013 NFL-USO Tour.

In 1965, looking for a way to demonstrate the NFL's support for America's fighting forces in Vietnam, then-Commissioner Pete Rozelle conceived the idea of sending NFL players to Vietnam on "goodwill tours" to visit U.S. troops. The following year the NFL joined forces with the USO and became the first sports organization to send a group of players to Vietnam and other parts of the Far East.

Davin Joseph of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers visits with military members during the 2013 NFL-USO Tour.
Davin Joseph of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers visits with military members during the 2013 NFL-USO Tour.

From 1966 until the removal of forces in Vietnam in 1973, players spent up to three-and-one-half weeks visiting remote firebases, aircraft carriers, and other installations in Vietnam, Guam, Thailand, and Japan. Since then, active and retired NFL players and coaches have made numerous USO tours visiting troops in such locations as Somalia, Bosnia, Italy, South Korea, Japan, Germany, and Kuwait.

Since the beginning of Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan in 2001 and Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003, the NFL and its players have been frequent visitors to the Middle East in partnership with the USO. Commissioner Roger Goodell became the first sports commissioner to visit the troops overseas as part of a USO trip when he toured Iraq and Afghanistan in 2008 with Drew Brees of the New Orleans Saints and Osi Umenyiora of the New York Giants.

In 2005 the NFL and USO teamed to preserve the legacy of Pat Tillman, a former Arizona Cardinals defensive back and Army Ranger killed in combat in 2004, by constructing a USO center in his honor. As part of the 2005 NFL-USO Tour, Atlanta Falcons Running Back Warrick Dunn and New England Patriots Coach Larry Izzo traveled to Afghanistan to participate in the grand opening of the Pat Tillman USO Center at Bagram Air Base.

The NFL is proud of its longtime partnership with the USO and is grateful for the opportunity to support our men and women in uniform. For more information on the USO please visit uso.org.

A history of NFL players and coaches on USO tours:

1966

John Unitas, Baltimore Colts
Willie Davis, Green Bay Packers
Sam Huff, New York Giants
Frank Gifford, New York Giants

1967

Don Meredith, Dallas Cowboys
Dick Bass, Los Angeles Rams
Larry Wilson, St. Louis Cardinals

1968

Bart Starr, Green Bay Packers
Wayne Walker, Detroit Lions
Ernie Green, Cleveland Browns
Lance Alworth, San Diego Chargers
Andy Russell, Pittsburgh Steelers
Bill Brown, Minnesota Vikings
Bobby Bell, Kansas City Chiefs
John David Crow, San Francisco 49ers
Jack Kemp, Buffalo Bills

1969

Billy Ray Smith, Baltimore Colts
Irv Cross, Los Angeles Rams
Dick Schafrath, Cleveland Browns
Al Atkinson, New York Jets
Tommy Nobis, Atlanta Falcons
Dick Westmoreland, Miami Dolphins
Dan Reeves, Dallas Cowboys
Joe Namath, New York Jets
Jim Otto, Oakland Raiders
Steve Wright, New York Giants
Marv Fleming, Green Bay Packers

1970

Tucker Frederickson, New York Giants
Jack Snow, Los Angeles Rams
Floyd Little, Denver Broncos
Chuck Walker, St. Louis Cardinals
Paul Maguire, Buffalo Bills
Jim Nance, Boston Patriots
Len Rohde, San Francisco 49ers
Dan Conners, Oakland Raiders
Gary Garrison, San Diego Chargers
Norman Snead, Philadelphia Eagles
Chris Hanburger, Washington Redskins
Jim Marshall, Minnesota Vikings
Dick Butkus, Chicago Bears
Dave Whitsell, New Orleans Saints
George Webster, Houston Oilers

1971

John Brown, Pittsburgh Steelers
George Kunz, Atlanta Falcons
Fred Hoaglin, Cleveland Browns
Jerry Smith, Washington Redskins
Tom Woodeshick, Philadelphia Eagles
George Byrd, Buffalo Bills
Jon Morris, Boston Patriots
Clint Jones, Minnesota Vikings
Greg Landry, Detroit Lions
Joe Scibelli, Los Angeles Rams
Larry Csonka, Miami Dolphins
Bob Lilly, Dallas Cowboys
Ernie Wright, Cincinnati Bengals
Tom Matte, Baltimore Colts
Tom Dempsey, New Orleans Saints
Lem Barney, Detroit Lions
Mike Curtis, Baltimore Colts

1972

Manny Fernandez, Miami Dolphins
Charlie Kruger, San Francisco 49ers
Jack Gregory, Cleveland Browns
Mike Garrett, San Diego Chargers
Marlin McKeever, Los Angeles Rams
Grady Alderman, Minnesota Vikings
John Elliott, New York Jets
John Fuqua, Pittsburgh Steelers
Marlin Briscoe, Buffalo Bills
Roger Wehrli, St. Louis Cardinals
Otis Taylor, Kansas City Chiefs
Danny Abramowicz, New Orleans Saints
Bill Curry, Baltimore Colts
Donny Anderson, Green Bay Packers
Gene Upshaw, Oakland Raiders
Ken Houston, Houston Oilers

1973

Marty Domres, Baltimore Colts
Bill Kilmer, Washington Redskins
Karl Kassulke, Minnesota Vikings
Jim Marsalis, Kansas City Chiefs
Ken Iman, Los Angeles Rams
Archie Manning, New Orleans Saints
George Atkinson, Oakland Raiders
Cliff Harris, Dallas Cowboys
Joe Morrison, New York Giants
Mike McCoy, Green Bay Packers
John Zook, Atlanta Falcons

1974

Jim Mandich, Miami Dolphins
John Gilliam, Minnesota Vikings
Art Thoms, Oakland Raiders
Franco Harris, Pittsburgh Steelers
Diron Talbert, Washington Redskins
Jack Youngblood, Los Angeles Rams
Bill Munson, Detroit Lions

1975

Rocky Bleier, Pittsburgh Steelers
Ray Mansfield, Pittsburgh Steelers
Carl Eller, Minnesota Vikings
Tom Mack, Los Angeles Rams
Ahmad Rashad, Buffalo Bills

1976

Jack Lambert, Pittsburgh Steelers
Lynn Swann, Pittsburgh Steelers
James Harris, Los Angeles Rams
D.D. Lewis, Dallas Cowboys

1977

George Buehler, Oakland Raiders
Ahmad Rashad, Minnesota Vikings
Jack Lambert, Pittsburgh Stealers
Carl Eller, Minnesota Vikings
Steve Grogan, New England Patriots

1978

Willie Brown, Oakland Raiders
Lawrence McCutcheon, Los Angeles Rams
Russ Francis, New England Patriots
Mike Montler, Denver Broncos

1979

Joe Klecko, New York Jets
Matt Blair, Minnesota Vikings
Hank Bauer, San Diego Chargers
Jon Kolb, Pittsburgh Steelers

1980

Hank Bauer, San Diego Chargers
Matt Blair, Minnesota Vikings
Bod Brudzinski, Los Angeles Rams
Efren Herrera, Seattle Seahawks

1981

Dave Dalby, Oakland Raiders
Mike Davis, Oakland Raiders
Efren Herrera, Seattle Seahawks
Doug Wilkerson, San Diego Chargers

1984

Gregg Bingham, Houston Oilers
Mike Davis, Los Angeles Raiders
Russ Francis, San Francisco 49ers
Mark May, Washington Redskins
Ray Wersching, San Francisco 49ers

2000

David Franklin, New Orleans Saints
Dwight Hicks, San Francisco 49ers
Brett Bach, New Orleans Saints
Keith Poole, New Orleans Saints
H.R. Silvagni, Minnesota Vikings
Bubba Winkler, Atlanta Falcons
Carlos Bradley, San Diego Chargers/Philadelphia Eagles
David Little, Pittsburgh Steelers
Sam Hunt, New England Patriots
Carlton Bailey, Buffalo Bills/N.Y. Giants/Carolina Panthers
Kent Hill, Los Angeles Rams
Lee Rouson, New York Jets
Mike Quick, Philadelphia Eagles
Andy Headen, New York Giants
Lorenzo Hampton, Miami Dolphins
Henry Lawrence, Los Angeles Raiders
Russell Carter, New York Jets
Byron Hunt, New York Giants
Roland James, New England Patriots
Ronnie Lapette, New England Patriots
Don MacNeal, Miami Dolphins
Curtis McGriff, New York Giants
Stephen Baker, New York Giants
Scott Connover, Detroit Lions
Pete Shaw, San Diego Chargers/New York Giants
Willie Buchanon, Green Bay Packers/ San Diego Chargers
Mark Duper, Miami Dolphins
Elmer Bailey, Miami Dolphins/ Baltimore Colts

2001

H.R. Silvagni, Minnesota Vikings
Bubba Winkler, Atlanta Falcons
Carlos Bradley, San Diego Chargers/Philadelphia Eagles
David Little, Pittsburgh Steelers
PJ Foster, Houston Oilers
Terry White, Philadelphia Eagles
Kent Hill, Los Angeles Rams
Lee Rouson, New York Jets
Russell Carter, New York Jets
Roland James, New England Patriots
Ronnie Lippett, New England Patriots
Curtis McGriff, New York Giants
Scott Conover, Detroit Lions
Ed Hargrove, Minnesota Vikings

2003

Jerome Bettis, Pittsburgh Steelers
Eddie George, Tennessee Titans
Paul Tagliabue, NFL
Duce Staley, Philadelphia Eagles
Jason Taylor, Miami Dolphins
Zach Thomas, Miami Dolphins
Shelton Quarles,Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Marvin Jones, New York Jets

2004

Keith Brooking, Atlanta Falcons
Warrick Dunn, Atlanta Falcons
Todd Heap, Baltimore Ravens
Paul Tagliabue, NFL
Marco Rivera, Green Bay Packers
Brian Baldinger, Dallas Cowboys, FOX Sports
Merton Hanks, NFL
Mike Haynes, NFL

2005

Warrick Dunn, Atlanta Falcons
Larry Izzo, New England Patriots

2006

Bryce Fisher, Seattle Seahawks
Patrick Kerney, Atlanta
Max Starks, Pittsburgh Steelers

2007

Alge Crumpler, Atlanta Falcons
Shelton Quarles, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Will Shields, Kansas City Chiefs
Benjamin Watson, New England Patriots

2008

Luis Castillo, San Diego Chargers
Tommie Harris, Chicago Bears
Mike Rucker, Carolina Panthers
Roger Goodell, NFL
Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints
Osi Umenyiora, New York Giants

2009

Larry Fitzgerald, Arizona Cardinals
Jared Allen, Minnesota Vikings
Will Witherspoon, St. Louis Rams
Danny Clark, New York Giants
Tom Coughlin, New York Giants
Bill Cowher, Pittsburgh Steelers/CBS
Jeff Fisher, Tennessee Titans
Jon Gruden, Oakland Raiders /Tampa Bay Buccaneers/ESPN
John Harbaugh, Baltimore Ravens

2010

Vernon Davis, San Francisco 49ers
Joe Thomas, Cleveland Browns
Mario Williams, Houston Texans
Jason Witten, Dallas Cowboys
Brad Childress, Minnesota Vikings
Marvin Lewis, Cincinnati Bengals
John Fox, Carolina Panthers
Andy Reid, Philadelphia Eagles

2011

Merril Hoge, Pittsburgh Steelers
Matt Millen, Oakland/Los Angeles Raiders, San Francisco 49ers, Washington Redskins
Anthony Muñoz, Cincinnati Bengals
Gary Kubiak, Houston Texans
Jim E. Mora, New Orleans Saints, Indianapolis Colts
Jim L. Mora, Atlanta Falcons, Seattle Seahawks
Ken Whisenhunt, Arizona Cardinals

2012

Jason Baker, Carolina Panthers
Dhani Jones, Cincinnati Bengals
Alex Mack, Cleveland Browns
Takeo Spikes, San Diego Chargers
Eric Winston, Houston Texans
Bill Cowher, Pittsburgh Steelers/CBS
Leslie Frazier, Minnesota Vikings
Ben Kotwica, New York Jets
Eric Mangini, New York Jets/Cleveland Browns/ESPN

2013

Champ Bailey, Denver Broncos
D'Qwell Jackson, Cleveland Browns
Davin Joseph, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Von Miller, Denver Broncos
Steve Smith, Carolina Panthers
J.J. Watt, Houston Texans
Bill Polian, Indianapolis Colts/ESPN
Donnie Edwards, Kansas City Chiefs/San Diego Chargers
Chris Draft, Atlanta Falcons/Buffalo Bills/Carolina Panthers/Chicago Bears/San Francisco 49ers/St Louis Rams/Washington Redskins
Eric Metcalf, Atlanta Falcons/Arizona Cardinals/Cleveland Browns/Green Bay Packers/San Diego Chargers/Washington Redskins

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