Since being selected by the Ravens in the first round of the NFL draft, seven-time Pro Bowler Ed Reed (S) has become one of the league’s most notable ball hawks. After nearly a decade in Baltimore, he stands alone atop the club’s career interceptions list and has the most interceptions among active players since 2002. He is also second all-time in interception return yards and first among active players.
His dominance landed Reed a spot on both the Sporting News and the USA Today All-Decade teams (2000s). Reed has been named the Associated Press Defensive Player of the Year (2004), the Football Digest Defensive Player of the Year (2004) and a seven-time Associated Press All-Pro selection.
Off the field, he runs the Ed Reed Eye of the Hurricane Foundation, which supports community programs in Baltimore and Reed’s hometown of St. Rose, La. The foundation hosts annual football camps in Louisiana and donates athletic equipment to youth sports teams in both regions. The foundation supports several enrichment programs, including the L.O.R.D.S. program at Booker T. Washington Middle School in Baltimore. L.O.R.D.S. – which stands for Leadership, Order, Respect, Discipline, Success - rewards students who reach certain goals based on homework completion, class attendance and behavior with bicycles, Thanksgiving dinner baskets, Ravens tickets and more, all presented by Reed himself. The foundation also hosts several other programs, including Children’s Fitness Day, School Supply Drive, Thanksgiving Dinner Giveaway, Christmas for the Kids and the donation of several college scholarships for graduating seniors. For his contributions to the community, Reed was selected as the Ravens’ nominee for the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award in 2009.
A two-time Pro Bowl selection and 2011 PULSE nominee for the same category, London Fletcher (LB) has established a strong, persistent defensive presence around the league. He signed with St. Louis as an undrafted free agent in 1998 and was named Rookie of the Year by the Rams.
Since then, Fletcher has enjoyed 14 years of excellence – not missing a single game. Fletcher played in two Super Bowls with St. Louis and took home one championship before moving to Buffalo and then Washington, where he is now serving his fifth season as the team’s defensive captain. He has racked up the most tackles among active players and is the only player with more than 100 tackles in each of the past 11 seasons. Fletcher was also named to Sports Illustrated’s Peter King All-Decade team (2000s).
Off the field, Fletcher is equally as acclaimed. He has served as a spokesman and ambassador for several charities across the nation, and his London’s Bridge Foundation has provided aid and refuge to underprivileged children in the Cleveland, Buffalo, Charlotte and Washington areas since 2003. His foundation aids youth in providing test preparation, college tours and scholarships, as well as fitness promotion and the donation of sports equipment. Programs include the creation of London’s Brigade mentoring network and field trips to BET, Capitol Hill and the Newseum. As a result of his philanthropic efforts, Fletcher was a nominee for the Special Olympics DC Athletes’ Choice Award at the 2010 NFL PLAYERS Gala and a finalist for the 2009 Walter Payton Man of the Year Award.
A five-time Pro Bowl selection and 2011 PULSE nominee for the same category, Drew Brees (QB) is one of the most prolific passers in the NFL. In the decade since he was drafted by San Diego, Brees has become only the second player in NFL history to complete more than 4,000 passing yards in five consecutive seasons and has set league records in completion percentage in a single season (70.6 in 2009) and in completions (448 in 2010).
In 2004, Brees was named the Comeback Player of the Year for taking the Chargers from a 4-12 record in 2003 to a 12-4 record in 2004. Brees signed with New Orleans in 2006 and has done great things for the Saints and the city. Brees was named the Associated Press Offensive Player of the Year in 2008 and Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Year in 2010.
Brees not only helped bring a Super Bowl title to New Orleans, he also worked hard to restore the city following the devastating effects of Hurricane Katrina. Shortly after signing with the Saints, Brees held a fundraiser to help rebuild a local high school football facility. In 2003, he and his wife, Brittany, established the Brees Dream Foundation to advance research in the fight against cancer and to aid children facing adversity. The Brees Dream Foundation, which serves New Orleans, San Diego and the West Lafayette/Purdue communities, has committed and/or contributed more than $7 million to charitable causes and academic institutions. The foundation often partners with other organizations to run programs such as the Rebuilding Dreams Campaign, the United Nations World Rice Bowl Challenge, the Trust Your Crazy Ideas Challenge and more. In recognition of his charitable work, Brees was co-winner of the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award in 2006. Brees also served as an NFLPA Player Representative for four years and was elected to serve as a Vice President on the NFLPA Executive Committee, another testament to his leadership abilities.
A mainstay on the Colts’ offensive line over the last 13 seasons, Jeff Saturday (C) is a natural leader on the gridiron. Since taking over as the team’s starting center in 2000, Light played a key role in the Colts’ Super Bowl XLI victory and has been a fixture on a notoriously strong offensive line that gave up the fewest quarterback sacks of any NFL team in 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2010.
He has been a Pro Bowl selection five times (2006-’08, 2010-’11) and has been named to the All-Pro team four times (2005-’07, 2009). In 2007, Saturday was the NFL Alumni Offensive Lineman of the Year.
Off the field, Saturday is actively involved in community programs and with the NFLPA. Saturday was elected to the NFLPA Executive Committee as a Vice President in 2006 and has served on the board since. Prior to his election to the Executive Committee, Saturday served as the Colts’ Player Representative for four years. Since 2004, he has been a spokesman for Miracle Ride, a fundraiser for the Riley Hospital for Children in Indiana. Saturday also serves as spokesman and sits on the board of the People’s Burn Foundation of Indiana and the Kids’ Voice of Indiana, an advocacy group for children. He and his wife, Karen, are honorary chairpersons for the Susan G. Komen for the Cure and have supported the organization since 2004. In 2010, the Saturdays were honored with the Susan G. Komen Individual Lifetime Achievement Award.
The New England Patriots’ Matt Light (T) is one of the league’s most highly regarded offensive linemen. In his 11 seasons with New England, Light has been an integral part of three Super Bowl victories, a three-time Pro Bowl Selection (2006, 2007, 2010) and an All-Pro selection (2007). The Patriots rewarded his excellence by naming him to the franchise’s All-2000’s Team and 50th Anniversary Team.
Off the field, Light has been the Patriots’ NFLPA Player Representative since 2007. His Light Foundation is dedicated to instilling basic values of responsibility, leadership, accountability and hard work through unique outdoor learning experiences like the Vohokase Camp and the Matt Light All-Conference Football Camp. The foundation also supports two scholarship funds – the College Scholarship Award and the Danny Pires Memorial Scholarship Fund, in honor of the late New Bedford Standard-Times sports reporter of the same name. Light’s commitment to improving the community was recognized by NFL Charities in 2009 with a grant to continue his philanthropic endeavors.