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Giving back to community suits former OU football players to a tee.
Galatians 6: 8-10
CHICAGO – JANUARY 14: Injured defensive tackle Tommie Harris of the Chicago Bears watches from the sidelines as his team takes on the Seattle Seahawks during their NFC Divisional Playoff game on January 14, 2007 at Soldier Field in Chicago, Illinois. The Bears defeated the Seahawks 27-24. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
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By Jake Trotter – Staff Writer
NORMAN — Teddy Lehman walked onto the first tee box and aligned the driver perfectly with the ball.He smoothly motioned the club back and then forward, whacking the ball all of about 2 inches.
Still, the weekend’s charity event featuring several ex-Sooners now in the NFL reeled in roughly $270,000 for both the Boys & Girls Club ofAmerica and the Tommie Harris Foundation, which raises funds to help prevent child abuse.
“I’ve always loved kids, always loved the Boys & Girls Club since I was in it myself,” said Harris, a standout while at Oklahoma who’s now an all-pro defensive tackle with the Chicago Bears. “When you get to the NFL, you should start a foundation and give back.”
Harris, however, isn’t the only one of his former teammates who have given back.
Sooner alums in the NFL are giving their fans reasons to be proud.
“The nice thing about these guys is that they’re genuine and they want to make a difference,” said Harris‘ marketing agent, Bill Horn, who lives in Edmond. “They look forward to getting back together. They work so hard to help each other. You don’t always see that in the NFL.
“Also, they love Oklahoma. They all came from different parts of the country, so they’re not Oklahomans, but they’ve adopted Oklahoma as their second state and they love coming back and love the people.”
Many former Sooners played in Harris‘ golf tournament, including Williams of the Dallas Cowboys;Rufus Alexander of the Minnesota Vikings; Brodney Pool of the Cleveland Browns; C.J. Ah You of the St. Louis Rams; Dusty Dvoracek and Mark Bradley of the Bears; Davin Joseph, Donte Nicholson and Lehman of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers; and Curtis Lofton of the Atlanta Falcons.
Several ex-Sooners now with the Baltimore Ravens, including Clayton, Chris Chester, Dan Cody,Kelly Gregg and Corey Ivy, were planning to participate until a Ravens minicamp practice was scheduled for this weekend. Money was also raised through a billiards tournament at Riverwind Casino late Saturday night as well as Friday’s auction, which featured prizes like a deep sea fishing excursion with Harris and a hunting trip with Williams.
“There’s such a good following from the university, and there’s a lot of players from there that it’s easy to bring all the old players back to go along with a big fan base that supports the different charities,” said Lehman, who won the Butkus Award as a star linebacker for OU.
That’s why many of these players hold charity events in the Oklahoma City area.
Thanks to the leadership of people like Harris, the trend is spreading, too.
“It’s good when you can do things like this.”
FOR MORE INFO ON THE TOMMIE HARRIS FOUNDATION:
From the Desk of Chief Gregory E. Pyle
Help is needed from Choctaws across the United States so that legislation can be passed in the United States Congress to recognize the original Native American Code Talkers. The Assistant Chief and I are currently working with members of the U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives to pass a bill that will make it possible to issue medals for service as a Code Talker. We had 40 meetings in two days during the most recent trip to Washington, D.C. to ask for support for legislation to honor Code Talkers from all tribes.
Congressman Dan Boren has introduced HB 4544, which currently has 95 co-sponsors. We need 289 co-sponsors to this bill, and many Congress people need to hear from someone who lives in their district before they will agree to sign on. Senator James Inhofe has introduced S 2681, and it currently has 21 co-sponsors. We need 67 co-sponsors on this bill. All Senators and Congress-people from Oklahoma have signed on, and now we need to gather support from the other 49 states.
Native American language being used as code was made famous by the Navajos in WWII. Their service was recognized with medals in 2000. However, members of other Native American tribes also used their languages as unbreakable top-secret codes in WWI and WWII.
Choctaws were the first to use their Native language as ‘code” to transmit messages on the field. Ironically, these men voluntarily served this country and used their own language to help win the war six years before the Native American Citizenship Act. It is also ironic that at the same time the Choctaw language was being used to benefit the war effort, Native languages were being banned in government schools.
All of the Choctaw Code Talkers are now deceased. Only a few living children remain. Recognition of these men is needed now, before the children’s generation is lost. HB 4544 and S 2681 allows a gold medal to be presented to each tribe, with a silver duplicate medal presented to individual Code Talkers or their families. Bronze medals will be sold by the United States Mint, and all costs will come from the revolving fund for such activities of the Treasury, with no appropriates necessary.
Please contact the Congress-people and Senators who represent you and ask them to support these bills as a co-sponsor. The honor is long overdue.
For help with maps on who your Congressman or Senator is:
Then you can contact your Congressman with direct e-mail, phone numbers or addresses available on; www.house.gov
And you can contact your state’s Senators with direct e-mail, phone numbers or addresses available at www.senate.gov
It is highly recommended that e-mail or phone calls be the contact method. If mailing through the postal service, please direct the information to the state offices, as the mail in Washington, D.C. is slow due to security measures.
You can find the entire bills on http://thomas.loc.gov/
The following have already co-sponsored in the House