The New Orleans Saints hosted a Pro vs. G.I. Joe event at the team's training facility on Monday, Nov. 3.
Tight end Jimmy Graham, safety Vinnie Sunseri and defensive ends Cameron Jordan and Akiem Hicks took on troops currently deployed in Afghanistan in the video game "Call of Duty." The players also had the support of about 30 local members of the U.S. Coast Guard and Louisiana Air National Guard's 159th Fighter Wing.
"It's unbelievable," Sunseri said. "A lot of people look up to us for what we do but my heroes for my entire life have been the people that give their life for our country for us to be able to do what we want to do. People call us heroes on Sundays but the true heroes are the ones that go overseas and fight the battles that we can't fight. I can't tell you how much it means to hang out with these men. It's a humbling experience."
Pro vs. G.I. Joe is a nonprofit organization that connects professional athletes to play live video games with our troops deployed stateside and overseas. Using today's best technology, athletes and troops are connected live via Internet and webcam through a unique relationship with the USO. Troops from Iraq, Afghanistan, Kuwait, Qatar, Germany and Korea have participated in gaming competitions with sports teams including with the MLB, NASCAR the NFL and NBA from around the U.S.
"I guess the big thing, and this is why this has been so incredibly successful, the athletes come down and strip off their jersey and they could be the biggest athletes in the world." Founder of Pro vs. GI Joe, Greg Zinone said. "Same thing with the troops, it doesn't matter how high-ranking of an official you are. You're just having fun. Call of Duty just bring your together and you have a blast."
For more information visit, www.provsgijoe.org
New Orleans Saints TE Jimmy Graham, DL Cameron Jordan and Akiem Hicks and S Vinnie Sunseri played Call of Duty with troops as part of the NFL's Salute to Service campaign. Photos by Alex Restrepo (New Orleans Saints photos)