Pro Bowlers pitch in for NFL PLAY 60

Cowboys CB Terence Newman paints a mural for a playground in Lauderhill, Fla. (Gary A. Vasquez /

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — I went to an NFL PLAY 60 Community Blitz event Thursday in nearby Lauderhill expecting to write some blogs on building a playground. Instead, I did a very small part to help build one, and it’s the highlight of my Pro Bowl week so far.

Volunteers from the NFL, NFLPA and Bank of America, as well as 14 Pro Bowlers, visited RISE Academy School of Science and Technology to build a fully equipped playground for the students as part of the NFL Play 60 program’s campaign to fight childhood obesity. It’s just one of the many community events NFL players take part in during Pro Bowl week, even though many of their good deeds don’t garner much attention.

“It’s just important to us just to do it,” Texans LB DeMeco Ryans said. “The people that we’re helping, they know. That’s the most important thing about it. Even if the whole country doesn’t see everything that we do, I know that we touch a lot of people’s lives, and we help them out. With them getting the help, they know we did it and they understand, and that’s the most important thing.”

Ryans, who personally tested an orange slide after it went up (we agreed since it held him, it was child-approved) was joined by Josh Cribbs, Brian Dawkins, Jon Dorenbos, David Diehl, D’Brickashaw Ferguson, Shane Lechler, Andy Lee, Kevin Mawae, Donovan McNabb, Terence Newman, Kassim Osgood, Chris Snee and DeMarcus Ware. Chargers coach Norv Turner was on hand, as was NFL Network’s Jamie Dukes and ESPN commentators Jon Gruden and Ron Jaworski.

“These guys are all-stars on the field, but they’re all-stars off the field too,” commissioner Roger Goodell said afterward. “What they do off the field makes me more proud than what they do on the field.”

Take a look at the photo gallery and come back later for some great video from the event.

— Frank Tadych

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