The NFL, through its foundation, has pledged a minimum of $300,000 to aid in international and domestic relief efforts in areas affected by Hurricane Matthew.
The NFL Foundation’s contributions will support relief organizations such as the American Red Cross, Salvation Army and UNICEF. A total of $100,000 will go to the Salvation Army and UNICEF to support relief efforts and assist victims in impacted areas of the Caribbean, including Haiti and the Bahamas. An additional $100,000 will go to the American Red Cross to aid in relief and recovery efforts in impacted areas of the United States.
Also, the foundation will help restore youth and high school football programs in impacted areas of the Southeast. Together with USA Football, the NFL will replace damaged or lost equipment and uniforms, as well as address other needs, spending at least $100,000.
Six NFL teams have pledged to support Hurricane Matthew relief efforts, as well: Arizona, Atlanta, Carolina, Jacksonville, Miami and Washington.
BAD LOSS: Losing a bet anytime is painful. Having to pay up by wearing gear from a college rival is much worse, at least according to Tennessee Titans linebacker Brian Orakpo .
The Texas alum bet with teammate DeMarco Murray on last week’s Red River Showdown and lost big when Oklahoma beat Orakpo’s Longhorns 45-40. Orakpo showed up Monday wearing a Sooners hoodie.
“I fought it hard, but I’m a man of my word,” Orakpo said. “I’m going to pay my bets and I got to wear this trash, but I’ll burn it when I’m done after the week.”
Betting on college games is very popular in NFL locker rooms, with friendly wagers made almost weekly. Orakpo said many players simply wager with money, which is easily dismissed.
“We kind of wanted to make it sink in a little further with hoodie for the week for that particular team, and obviously you know what the outcome was,” Orakpo said.
Adding to the pain, Orakpo said he knows a photo of him in the Oklahoma hoodie will make the rounds, particularly back home in Texas. A native of Houston, Orakpo said he never considered attending Oklahoma.
“I’m a man of my word. I pay my debts, and I’ll burn it when I’m done,” Orakpo said.
POPULAR BRADY: Tom Brady not only got a win in his first game back from his four-game “Deflategate” suspension, he earned offensive player of the week honors in the AFC with his 406-yard, three-touchdown performance.
The Patriots quarterback also was No. 1 elsewhere: Brady’s jersey became the top seller this week, according to DICK’s Sporting Goods Jersey Report.
Brady’s popularity also moved New England to the top spot in overall jersey sales. One of his favorite targets, tight end Rob Gronkowski, came in sixth, according to DICK’s.
Brady outdid Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell who served a three-game suspension to start the season. Pittsburgh has won twice since Bell returned and he is at No. 16 in jersey sales, an improvement of 40 spots from when he was suspended.
Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz was the only rookie in the top 30, landing fifth overall.
RODGERS ON PRESCOTT: Aaron Rodgers waited for three years behind Brett Favre in Green Bay, and figures Dak Prescott will soon be in a similar position behind Tony Romo even though the Dallas rookie has the Cowboys at 4-1 without their injured 10-year starter.
From Rodgers’ point of view, it’s first a matter of Prescott accepting the economics.
“You have to understand that the team has a lot invested in the guy in front of you most of the time, and you’re going to get an opportunity,” said Rodgers, a two-time MVP. “You’ve just got to be patient.”
Even with Prescott on the verge of an NFL record for pass attempts without an interception to start a career (second at 155 behind Tom Brady’s 162), Rodgers says the 23-year-old former Mississippi State standout will have to accept that it may soon be his team - just not now.
“Maybe soon, maybe in a couple of years,” Rodgers said. “He’s doing nothing but helping himself right now the way he’s shown those guys his leadership style and his play and his consistency.”
Prescott sounds as if he never had to adjust his thinking in the first place.
“This is Tony’s team,” he said. “I knew that going into the situation. I think everybody knew that. I’m just trying to do the best I can to give my team a chance to win week in and week out.”
POLYNESIAN FOOTBALL HALL OF FAME: Former NFL players Riki Ellison, Chris Naeole, Ma’a Tanuvasa and ex-CFL player Junior Ah You have been selected for the Polynesian Football Hall of Fame’s Class of 2017.
Ellison has Maori ancestry, Naeole has Hawaiian, Tanuvasa and Ah You Samoan.
Also selected as a contributor is John Manumaleuna (Samoan ancestry), whose foundation seeks to use the unique perspective of Samoan and Polynesian cultures to promote education and a healthy lifestyle through sports.
“The class of 2017 has won five Super Bowls, two Grey Cups and a college football national championship,” says former NFL offensive lineman Jesse Sapolu, the Polynesian Football Hall of Fame co-founder and chairman. “They represent the very best of our Polynesian people.”
The class of 2017 will be honored during the Polynesian Football Hall of Fame enshrinements Jan. 21-22 in Hawaii. Inductees will also be recognized at the inaugural Polynesian Bowl, a senior high school all-star game featuring players of Polynesian heritage and other ancestries.
AP Pro Football Writers Barry Wilner and Teresa M. Walker, and Sports Writer Genaro C. Armas contributed.
AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP_NFL
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