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Shorts, United Way help local elementary school


JACKSONVILLE – The Jaguars continued work in the community earlier this week, led by a school visit from a star receiver.  

Jaguars wide receiver Cecil Shorts III continued his partnership with the United Way of Northeast Florida, by helping celebrate the Hometown Huddle with a day of service at West Jacksonville Elementary School on Tuesday.

The United Way and Florida Blue helped refurbish the school's playground, and Shorts talked and played with the kids during recess on the updated grounds.

"I think it's cool for an NFL guy to come out and play with them," Shorts said. "When I was younger it happened for me a couple of times, so just go out there and enjoy it and give the kids a good time."

For the United Way, this continues a lengthy partnership with the National Football League.

"This is a 40-year partnership with the United Way and the NFL, and the last 16 years, once a year, a day of service with each NFL team and generally try to do it on the same day, the same week," United Way of Northeast Florida President and CEO Michelle Braun said.

"Last year this school was one of the worst performing in the state, so we're trying to really put our arms around it, and get strong support for the principal and the kids and let them know we're behind them," Braun added.

For Shorts, aligning with the United Way was easy with the effect it has on the local community.

"We teamed up and they're a great organization to work with, they work extremely hard in the community and they're doing a good job of trying to reach the kids in the educational world," Shorts said.

"Cecil has been fantastic," Braun added. "It's nice to have players that lend their name, but he's really lent his time too, and that's the most meaningful."

Also on Tuesday…

  • Michaela Bradley, wife of Jaguars Head Coach Gus Bradley, led a clinic for football mothers at EverBank Field. Presenters included Jaguars associate athletic trainer Rod Scott, Jaguars head equipment manager Jimmy Luck and Heads Up Football master trainer Darrell Sutherland. "That's where the Heads Up program comes into play with educating all these coaches on the tackling techniques for these kids from a young age, or even when they get older," Bradley said. "I think you can never go wrong, even in high school or college, is continuing to learn the proper way and putting it on the athlete too to listen up, and making sure that the kids are all in on what they are asked to do and making sure they are paying attention. At the end of the day they have to take ownership of it and be aware each and every time they take the field."
  • Jaguars defensive end Ryan Davis visited Riverside Presbyterian Day School second graders to speak about the importance of eating a healthy breakfast each morning. The Jaguars have teamed up with the Department of Agriculture to educate children about the importance of eating healthy and exercising.
  • Defensive tackle Roy Miller and practice squad fullback Eric Kettani served meals to military families at Chick-fil-A near Naval Air Station Jacksonville. Miller and Kettani partnered with Chick-fil-A to show their military appreciation by serving as Chick-fil-A employees and serving free meals to the men and women who showed their military credentials. Miller's father served in the United States Army, while Kettani attended the United States Naval Academy, serving three years in active duty in the United States Navy.
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