Aiding Africa: NFL players doing their part

Texans DT Amobi Okoye is on the short list for winning the prize for, “What did you do this offseason?”

Okoye, with his charitable foundation, partnered with the International Federation of American Football to establish a Nigerian national federation dedicated solely to promoting the sport – the first of its kind on the continent.

Brothers Vernon and Vontae Davis will fly to Africa this weekend on a relief mission.

Okoye, who lived in Nigeria until moving to the U.S. at age 12, will touch down this weekend to be on hand when it happens.

“Seeing American football played in Nigeria and in other countries in Africa is a dream come true for me,” Okoye said. “In wider terms, it will benefit communities and young people by teaching the values of teamwork and dedication and create opportunities to succeed.”

Okoye will spend a week in the country also tackling some of his foundation’s other charitable initiatives, like his C.A.T.E. program (Changing Africa Through Education.)

Other players joining him for the 11-day trip are Texans DE Connor Barwin, Bucs DT Frank Okam and Jets S James Ihedigbo, whose parents also immigrated from Nigeria.

And on an entirely separate mission, Dolphins CB Vontae Davis and his brother, 49ers TE Vernon Davis, also are headed to that part of the world this weekend.

The brothers will travel to Uganda and Rwanda through the Pros For Africa foundation and provide food and medical assistance to women and children who have been victimized and orphaned.

“For me and especially my brother, it’s really exciting because growing up, we got to see how people came from nothing,” Vontae told while explaining being raised with his six siblings in a small Washington D.C.-area home by his grandmother.

“The biggest thing about this Africa trip is that it comes back to the notion that you have to appreciate life … and to realize that it’s a blessing for us to be here and to have been able to make our dreams come true by making it to the National Football League.”

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