Chicago Bears’ Tommie Harris Giving Back

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.

The second annual Tommie Harris Celebrity Classic didn’t exactly woo Tiger Woods to Belmar Golf Club on Saturday.

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.

Last month in Norman, Mark Claytonheld his inaugural Mark Clayton Foundation Charity Weekend, which helped children and families within the foster care system.

Earlier this year, Roy Williamsannounced he would expand the Roy Williams Safety Net Foundation fromDallas to Oklahoma, which will assist low-income single mothers in the area.

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.

“It’s a trend,” said Harris, who grew up in Killeen, Texas. “It shows how much respect we have for our school, for our teammates and for Oklahoma.”

Thanks to the leadership of people like Harris, the trend is spreading, too.

“I think it’s a good thing,” said Nicholson, who was an All-Big 12 safety at OU. “I’m trying to work something out with Davin to start a non-profit foundation.

“It’s good when you can do things like this.”

  • I’m an active duty oficer, originally from Oklahoma, and it’s always good to see professional athletes whogive back to the community. It’s also good to see them and other famous personalities give a little something back to Soldiers, Marines and other service members and their families. Coach Stoops and Toby Keith come to mind. One thing I’ve found (having been in the Active Army for over 16 years) is that Okies, and especially OU fans, have a LOT of pride in their state andtheir team. In my assessment, only Alabama fans compare in the honorable support for their state and their football team especially.
    John, Waipahu – May 4, 2008 8:07 PM

  • Tommie Harris, and a few other NFL players came to visit the troops in Afghanistan a couple months ago. They were traveling around the country for a week. Its good to see these guys giving back to the community.
    Ben, Tampa – May 4, 2008 5:02 AM


Published in: on May 6, 2008 at 6:44 pm  Comments (1)  

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  1. Always good to read about soccer and football. Can I ask though – how did you get this picked up and into google news? Very impressive, is it something that is just up to Google or you actively created? Obviously this is a popular blog with great data so well done on your success..

    MARK: Google generates the news automatically after it crawls through my posts. Thank you for visiting. Cheryl Davis

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