NFL-USO Coaches Tour to Persian Gulf launches in the coming weeks

Former and current NFL head coaches Jon Gruden (far left), Bill Cowher (second from left), Jeff Fisher (third from left), Tom Coughlin (third from right) and John Harbaugh (far right) pose for a photo with Vice President Joe Biden (center) and his son, Captain Beau Biden (second from right) on inaugural NFL-USO Coaches Tour in 2009.

Supporting the military is part of the fabric of the NFL.  This support takes place both abroad and at home, with NFL players and coaches traveling overseas to salute the troops, as well as teams recognizing the dedication and sacrifice of our servicemen and women around Veterans Day and throughout the year.

Four current NFL coaches will continue a tradition that started last year as they embark on an NFL-USO Coaches Tour this summer.  Vikings Head Coach Brad Childress; Panthers Head Coach John Fox; Bengals Head Coach Marvin Lewis; and Eagles Head Coach Andy Reid will travel within the coming weeks to meet and greet members of the U.S. military for several days in the Persian Gulf.

“Since my son has enlisted in the Marine Corps, I have learned a new appreciation for the freedoms we all enjoy and take for granted,” said Childress. “Our armed forces are the most highly-skilled, best-trained men and women in the world. Their character is on display on a daily basis because they’re an all-volunteer force. We all owe them a debt of gratitude and this trip is a small way of saying thank you.”

The NFL and USO have organized overseas morale-building visits for more than 40 years. In 1966, the NFL teamed with the USO and became the first sports organization to send a group of players to Vietnam and other parts of Asia to demonstrate the league’s support for America’s troops.

In 2008, Commissioner Roger Goodell became the first sports commissioner to participate in a USO tour.  The first NFL-USO tour of 2010, held in March, featured four Pro Bowl players – San Francisco 49ers tight end Vernon Davis, Cleveland Browns tackle Joe Thomas, Houston Texans defensive end Mario Williams, and Dallas Cowboys tight end Jason Witten. The group’s nine-day trip took them to Afghanistan and Qatar.

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