LaMarr Woodley of the Pittsburgh Steelers didn’t wait until his first pay cheque in the NFL to start giving back to those in need, he was doing it while he was still in college. Drafted by the Steelers 46th overall during the second round of the 2007 NFL Draft, Woodley has been a huge addition to the Steelers roster both on and off the field. As a member of the University of Michigan Wolverines throughout his college career, the Saginaw, Michigan native has never hesitated on giving back to the community around him that supports him everyday.
While playing for the Wolverines, Woodley teamed up with Clifton Ryan; another Saginaw native and currently a defensive tackle for the St. Louis Rams, to create the Heroes for Kids benefit which hosts a yearly golf outing. The two of them got about 20 of their teammates and coaches together to take part in the golfing portion of the fundraiser and then later got them to sign autographs for the children of Saginaw. They both return back home to Saginaw every year to throw what is now an annual event for them. Aside from the Heroes for Kids benefit, Woodley also established the LaMarr Woodley Annual Football Camp which he holds every year in June back home in Saginaw. It is a free camp for 300 local kids between the ages of 8-14 at the Saginaw High School and every kid in attendance receive t-shirts; Papa John’s lunch; Gatorade; Nike bags and autographs from LaMarr and his NFL friends who come along to help out.
While LaMarr Woodley has kept all of the people from his hometown close to his heart throughout his career, he had no problem giving the people of Pittsburgh a place in his heart as well once he joined their organization. Every year around Christmas time, Woodley sets up the Holiday Toy Drive at The Mall at Robinson where he signs autographs for fans in exchange for new, unwrapped toys to benefit the Children’s Child Life Department. The Children’s Child Life Department provides support, education, and assistance for children, teens, and families adjusting to illnesses and hospitalization.
Following the Steelers Super Bowl victory in 2009, Woodley donated an authentic signed Super Bowl football, photograph and a personalized Terrible Towel to a young child in need, Benjamin Reece. He was diagnosed that year with Metopic Craniosynostosis; a premature fusing of the sutures in the skull which restricts skull growth and can cause brain and vision problems as the child grows up if not surgically corrected.
With the generosity pumping through his veins, Woodley never backs down from an opportunity to help out others. He works very closely with the Community Relations Department of the Steelers to help out with events. He works with the Boys and Girls Clubs of America where he was just awarded the Dedication to Youth Award. During the 2010 season, Woodley founded LaMarr Woodley’s Sack Attack where he donated $500 for every sack he made throughout the season. He put in at least $5,000 towards LaMarr Woodley’s Sack Attack as the money went towards supporting organizations serving disadvantaged kids in both Michigan and Pittsburgh.
Just four years into his professional career, the young linebacker has already built up an impressive résumé that is only going to get better over the years. He’s won a Super Bowl, has been selected to a Pro Bowl and ranked in at number 82 on NFL.com’s Top 100 Players list of 2011. Lucky enough to play football for a living, Woodley recognizes where he’s at in life and realizes how blessed he truly is. He’s never doubted it for a second and has never forgotten where he comes from. He has stayed true to his hometown community and remains true to his NFL community. He understands how much some people in the world really need help and he’s used his football player status to the fullest to give back to those who need that helping hand. Most athletes are concerned about the draft while they’re in college; Woodley was concerned about helping the community around him better as a whole.
To learn more about LaMarr Woodley’s Sack Attack, visit http://www.allstarshelpingkids.org/teammates/woodleysackattack.html
To find out more about LaMarr Woodley and what he’s doing in the community, visit http://www.lamarrwoodley56.com/