NFL Health Update: Jets owner honors Pepisco Chairman at benefit



New York Jets owner Woody Johnson honored Indra K. Nooyi, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of PepsiCo, Inc. at the Alliance for Lupus Research's (ALR) annual Benefit Dinner earlier this month. Ms. Nooyi is a longtime advocate for women and women's health issues. With the support of PepsiCo, the event raised $1.4 million for lupus research.

Johnson founded the Alliance for Lupus Research when his daughter was diagnosed with lupus. Since the ALR's founding in 1999, Johnson's efforts have helped raise $150 million to help find a cure for the lupus. ALR has been the beneficiary of support and commitment by the New York Jets players and staff toward the mission of finding better treatments and ultimately a cure for the disease. Lupus, an autoimmune disease, affects about 1.5 million Americans. There is currently no cure for the disease, and the cause is unknown.


On Dec. 16, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' defensive line teamed up with UnitedHealthcare and Buccaneers staff members to surprise 40 families battling tough times as part of the "D-Line Delivers Christmas" event. An annual tradition, the "D-Line Delivers Christmas" surprised more than 70 children and their parents with a variety of presents, including gift cards, toys, bicycles and helmets, a shopping spree and more.

The families, selected through United Way Suncoast agencies, reported to One Buccaneer Place under the impression that they were receiving a tour of the team's headquarters. Led by defensive tackle Gerald McCoy, the entire defensive line, as well as Buccaneers cheerleaders and Captain Fear, revealed the true reason behind their visit during a surprise assembly in the team's auditorium. There, a series of holiday surprises ensued -- including a special appearance by coach Lovie Smith -- where the Buccaneers group handed every child a Hess toy truck, and presented each of the families with a Publix Super Markets gift card and the ultimate family game night package.

The holiday surprises continued, including brand new bicycles for every child, as well as a $250 shopping spree for each family, with the support of the players and cheerleaders. To see more from the event, click here.


Denver Broncos players recently spent time at the Denver Rescue Mission's annual holiday party visiting families at The Crossing, a residence for nearly 80 families transitioning out of homelessness. Quinton Carter, Todd Davis, Ben Garland, Chris Harris Jr., Steven Johnson, Corey Nelson, Bradley Roby and Quanterus Smith visited with families and decorated gingerbread men cookies with the families there.

A number of Broncos spread holiday cheer at various events for deserving kids and families in the Denver metro area. DeMarcus Ware surprised 60 kids from Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Denver, Hope House and Family Tree when he dressed up as Santa Claus and gifted each child a new Huffy bike and a Broncos football for Christmas.

Harris hosted a shopping spree for 40 inner-city children at Walmart, while T.J. Ward, Julius Thomas and Ryan Clady each hosted holiday shopping events at Target benefitting kids from Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Denver, Shiloh House and Aurora Public Schools.


Members of the Oakland Raiders visited an area hospital last week to raise the spirits of patients, their families and hospital staff. Raiders players Tarell Brown, Brice Butler, D.J. Hayden, Taiwan Jones and Darren McFadden spent time in several wards at Kaiser Permanente -- San Leandro Medical Center, where they distributed gifts and spent time with patients.

"It was amazing," said Butler. "We saw a guy that is cancer-free. Saw a guy that is healthy right now, but he said he was almost gone the other day. We saw a lot of things. For me, it just puts things in perspective that the life I'm living has nothing to really complain about. God has been good to me in my life. God has been good to these people too in these hospitals; they're still here. The people here don't take that for granted."

McFadden echoed those sentiments, saying: "I think it means so much to them. They might not have that many visitors come through. With it being the holiday season, you want to have family and friends come around, and being able to see some of the Raiders players come in and being big fans of the Raiders, people really enjoy it."

For Hayden, the visit took on another meaning, as he suffered a serious injury while in college.

"I know what they feel like being in the bed," said Hayden. "I definitely know that feeling and know some of that pain. Just to see the smile on someone's face that's probably been in the bed all day, mind has probably been racing ... for us to come in there and make them smile a little bit, it's probably the highlight of their day. For that little piece of happiness, it's cool to me."

For more information, click here.


The Kansas City Chiefs recently joined forces with Harvesters Community Food Network, Hy-Vee and Farmland Foods to provide hunger relief in the Kansas City community during the month of November. The Chiefs Kingdom Food Drive set the record for the largest NFL Food Drive, providing 180,000 meals for those in need.

The Chiefs Women's Organization, including Tammy Reid, wife of coach Andy Reid, collected the non-perishable food and monetary donations for Harvesters at the Nov. 30 game vs. the Broncos.

In total, through the month of November and throughout the year, the Chiefs and the Chiefs Kingdom have provided roughly 250,000 meals to those in need in the Kansas City area.


As part of their commitment to the Cleveland Browns Foundation and the Browns First and Ten campaign, Cleveland Browns players Andrew Hawkins and Miles Austin made generous donations to provide a special holiday experience to all of Walton Investment School's students and faculty. During the event, Hawkins, Austin and teammates surprised the school with a festive party, complete with new gifts for each of the school's 300 students to celebrate the holiday season. Additionally, Hawkins and Austin presented Walton School with a $10,000 check that will provide the school a mobile computer lab to help further boost the school's improved success in the classroom.

"Obviously I want to be a great football player, but if I can't do things like this in the community, the other part doesn't mean anything," Hawkins said. "This is more fulfilling than anything I could do on the football field."

While the event was part of the Browns' continued effort to brighten people's winter holidays, Austin and Hawkins also had the opportunity to inspire the students about the importance of education, the primary focus of the Cleveland Browns Foundation.

-- NFL Communications

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