NFL hopes to create bidding war for charity

Down the hall from the NFC locker room at the players’ hotel, the NFL auction headquarters would have a beautiful view — if it weren’t for the boxes stacked to the ceiling.

Helmets, authentic and miniature, line each side of the room, ready for players’ signatures, while boxes of Pro Bowl jerseys sit on the floor in the middle of the room.

Pete Quaglierini, NFL Auctions marketing and sales manager, said the inventory in this room — once it’s signed, of course — will raise $2.5 million for NFL and NFL Players, Inc. charities.

“It’s a great opportunity for players to give back,” he said.

After practice Tuesday, players streamed into the small room, where they were greeted by Quaglierini and his staff and then immediately handed a Sharpie.

Each player signed six mini helmets, six team helmets, eight Pro Bowl helmets, six white panels that will be sewn into new footballs and a set of numbers that will be sewn onto jerseys before being sold to the highest bidder.

Most players, like first-time Pro Bowl selection Nick Collins, hung around patiently while a volunteer went next door to dig up another box of numbers or panels. But not Nnamdi Asomugha. The Raiders’ cornerback was in and out of the room in record time.

In return for his time and charitable donation, each player receives two backup Pro Bowl jerseys, two helmets and a football.

“Last year, we had 80 of 87 guys come in here and sign,” Quaglierini said. “We’re trying to beat that this year.”

Last year, someone paid $1,000 for Adrian Peterson’s signed jersey, but the biggest auction item was a LaDainian Tomlinson game-used jersey that sold for $15,000.

NFL auctions have raised more than $8 million since 2002, and this year’s signed Pro Bowl memorabilia should be up for auction in two or three weeks at NFLAuction.nfl.com.

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