NFL Offseason

Three Inspirational NFL Fathers

In honor of Father’s Day, I have done research on some of the most dedicated and loving fathers in the NFL today. All of these fathers have become incredible parents and even better people as a result of their experiences with fatherhood. I would like to thank these men for being the father that every child deserves. It is very difficult to take part in such a demanding and dangerous job such in the NFL while also being an involved parent, so I applaud the dads below for their devotion to their children. I am positive that there are other fantastic fathers in the NFL, but these three players stand out to me.

1. Greg Olsen, Carolina Panthers

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Greg Olsen, three-time Pro Bowl tight end for the Carolina Panthers, is the father of three children; two boys and one girl. Tate, his oldest son, is seven years old, while his son T.J. and daughter Talbot, are five-year-old twins. Olsen is an extremely involved parent, as evidenced by his children appearing at every home game and on the field with their dad frequently, whether it be at practice or at the Pro Bowl. Unfortunately, Olsen and his family have faced many hurdles to get where they are today.
T.J. Olsen was born with a congenital heart defect known as hypoplastic left heart syndrome (HLHS). The left ventricle of his heart was underdeveloped, therefore, the doctors were forced to reconstruct the way his heart pumped in order for him to survive. These life-threatening circumstances required T.J. to undergo four open heart surgeries, one at three days old, one at six months old, and two at two years old. He also needed constant care from a nurse for the first six months of his life, up until his second surgery. After his final surgery at two years old, T.J. Olsen was discharged from the hospital without the need of further medical care.
Olsen and his family were ultimately helpless through this experience, other than providing the expenses for the operations and the extra house care, something many families are unable to do. After his son’s second procedure, Olsen and his wife Kara Dooley were consulting with other families whose children suffered from HLHS, some of whom could not afford to provide the medical care that Olsen and Dooley could. They decided to launch the HEARTest Yard foundation, which created an opportunity for families at their hospital, Lavine Hospital in Charlotte, North Carolina, to have free access to constant care from nurses for their children suffering from HLHS until it is no longer necessary. This organization is now hoping to expand to other areas in medical care.
Greg Olsen is a selfless, loyal, family-first man, and I respect him for his involvement with his children, and the empathy he has for people going through what his son has. He is not only a great father, but a great person, and his ability to deal with the horrible birth defect of his son while also playing at an extremely high level in the NFL illustrates his devotion toward T.J., Talbot, Tate, and Kara. Olsen is a sensational father not only because of his loyalty toward his son, but because of his continuing love for his family. Greg Olsen is a true role model for every current and future father.
Thank you for the message you send to our community using your NFL platform. Myself, along with many others, appreciate what you do for your children and our community.

2. Benjamin Watson, New Orleans Saints

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Fourteen-year veteran tight end for the New Orleans Saints, Benjamin Watson, is a former Walter Payton Man of the Year nominee, and father of five children. His three daughters, Grace, Naomi, and Eden (ages nine, seven, and two), and his twins sons Judah and Isaiah are five. Watson and his wife Kirsten look to be role models for their children, providing and caring for them constantly.
Watson shared an uplifting message via instagram on Father’s Day, 2017, that may have escaped the attention of the majority of the sports world, but it caught my eye because of its obvious sincerity. The image and caption are attached above this text; I would suggest taking a look at the message as it is both heart-wrenching and incredibly sweet. He tells the story of being approached by an unknown teenage girl, who was unaware of who he was; she told him what a good father he was because he was taking care of his daughter, and how she never had a father to take care of her. She then walked away, and Watson felt a great pain for her. His next passage was a piece of advice for all current and prospective fathers, which was, in short, to love your children. Watson’s efforts to not only engage with his own children, but to urge others to be a participating parent for their own kids are shown through this one simple instagram post. Being concerned with not only your own, but also other people’s children is a wonderful fatherly instinct. The fatherhood that Watson shows should be emulated by parents everywhere.
In 2008, Benjamin and Kirsten Watson established the One More Foundation. This organization’s purpose was “spreading the love and hope of Christ to one more soul by meeting people’s real needs first […] We promote education and partner with existing charities,” said Watson. The program attends to the physical necessities of people in their current neighborhoods, which have been multiple as Watson has moved cities for football many times since the launch of the project, and in their childhood towns.
Watson asks his children to attend his events for the One More Foundation because “We think it is important that they understand the importance of giving. Not just of your money, but giving up your time, giving up your talents, giving up your efforts to help someone else.” Even with all the gifts that the Watson family is gifted through Benjamin’s job, he still encourages his children to be generous and sacrifice for the less fortunate. Watson’s program has influenced his fatherhood in a drastically positive fashion because he teaches his children the value of selflessness. Watson is an outstanding parent because of his affection and loyalty for his children.
Thank you for the message you send to our community using your NFL platform. Myself, along with many others, appreciate what you do for your children and our community.

3. Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints

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The Future Hall of Fame quarterback for the New Orleans Saints and 2006 Walter Payton Man of the Year winner, Drew Brees, is not only one of the most underappreciated players in NFL history, but also a fantastic parent. Brees has four children; three sons and one daughter. His sons, Baylen, nine years old, Bowen, seven years old, and Callen, five years old, are older than his daughter Rylen, at three years old. His children are frequently seen with him on the field, an example being the famous scene after his first and only Super Bowl win in 2010, where Brees is seen celebrating with his son Baylen, as he attempts to catch confetti during the post-game ceremony.
Brees is a hands-on parent with much help from his wife, Brittany Brees. His kids are always inspiring and pushing him to be a better parent, shown through his establishment of The Brees Dream Foundation. This organization was formed by Brees and his wife in 2003, and since then, has raised over twenty-five million dollars for charitable organizations worldwide. The objective expressed by the mission statement is “Improving the quality of life for cancer patients, and provide care, education and opportunities for children and families in need.” This is the official statement on the foundation’s website, made by the Brees Family.
Similar to the Olsen and Watson families, Brees has used the fame that the NFL has given him to promote his causes. He is one of the most well-known players in the league today, which is why his campaign is one of the largest charitable organizations put together by a NFL player in the history of the league. His efforts to help children and their families with cancer illustrate his devotion to his own kids, and how they have affected his generous decisions. His fame and fortune have helped him tremendously in his efforts with The Brees Dream Foundation, but his magnanimity is what has made Brees the father and person he is.
Thank you for the message you send to our community using your NFL platform. Myself, along with many others, appreciate what you do for your children and our community.

While playing in the NFL is a time-consuming and physically demanding career, it’s incredible that these three players, along with many others, give as much effort to being a parent as a they do being player.

Sources:

http://www.charlottemagazine.com/Charlotte-Magazine/November-2016/Life-Lessons-Greg-Olsen/
https://www.theplayerstribune.com/en-us/articles/greg-olsen-panthers-at-the-heart-of-it-all

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#HappyFathersDay! 8 yrs ago I was in a mall with my firstborn daughter. As I sat on a bench, feeding her, a teenage girl walked up to us. She said, "You're a good dad, I never had one. Be true to your daughter." As she left I felt the incredible pain in her words as well as the challenge she left me with. Men: Fatherlessness is at an all time high and we as a nation are reaping the consequences. It is past time for us to step up and be who we were designed to be. Fathers , daddies, papas and dads. Sometimes it's not easy, but our kids need us more than we know. We have the power to be world changers through our offspring. Walk with them, talk with them, love them, empower them, kiss them, squeeze them, affirm them, esteem them, protect them , teach them, and simply be with them. You can do it! Now is the time.

A post shared by benjaminswatson (@benjaminswatson) on

https://www.lifeofdad.com/benjamin-watson-my-life-of-dad/
http://www.thebenjaminwatson.com/foundation/
https://www.lifeofdad.com/drew-brees/

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