The Atlanta Falcons took care of business on the field Sunday night against the Green Bay Packers. Tuesday morning they showed how much they care about the community, as several players – including quarterback Matt Ryan and running back Devonta Freeman – visited three Atlanta Public Schools as part of the team’s Hometown Huddle program.
At Humphries Elementary School, Freeman, running back Tevin Coleman, safety Ricardo Allen, receiver Taylor Gabriel and long snapper Josh Harris surprised several teachers with gift bags, to show their appreciation for the important role educators play in society.
“What they do is so important, and sometimes teachers get overlooked,” Freeman said. “We just want to show them that we appreciate them and what they do means so much.”
The faces of the teachers at Humphries, and their students, lit up as the Falcon players – fresh off of a decisive 34-23 win over Green Bay – paid them a surprise visit.
“All of them were shocked,” said Humphries Principal Melanie Mitchell. “And it came at a good time. We have PTA [meeting] tonight, so it will be a very long day for our teachers. This was a nice surprise. [The players] brought a lot of spirit to our building.”
The same buzz was felt at Toomer Elementary School and at Tuskegee Airmen Global Academy, where two more groups of Falcons – including Ryan, receiver Julio Jones, linebacker De’Vondre Campbell, safety Keanu Neal, linebacker Deion Jones, defensive tackle Dontari Poe, cornerback Desmond Trufant, receiver Nick Williams, cornerback C.J. Goodwin and general manager Rich McKay – put students to the test by running them through various agility drills. At both schools students spent 60 minutes running, jumping, throwing footballs, and playing other indoor games with the players as part of “Play 60,” a National Football League program aimed at encouraging kids to be active for 60 minutes a day to reverse childhood obesity.
“This program is designed to show students that it’s fun to play football and fun to be active,” said Chris Millman, director of community relations for the Atlanta Falcons. “It also allows us to make a real difference in Atlanta and the state of Georgia.”