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NFL and USO mark 40th anniversary

Seahawks' Fisher, Falcons' Kerney and Steelers' Starks to visit troops in Balkins and Persian Gulf regions.

(March 22, 2006) -- The National Football League and the USO (United Service Organizations) will celebrate the 40th anniversary of their partnership this spring with a tour that will soon head to the Balkans and the Persian Gulf Region to provide a morale boost to troops stationed far from home.

Defensive ends Bryce Fisher of the NFC champion Seattle Seahawks and Patrick Kerney of the Atlanta Falcons, and tackle Max Starks of the Super Bowl XL champion Pittsburgh Steelers will meet and greet service members at various locations in the region. Armed Forces Entertainment (AFE) is providing logistical support for the trip.

In 1966, the NFL became the first sports organization to send players to Vietnam and other parts of the Far East on "goodwill tours" to visit U.S. troops. The first group of players to embark on a USO tour overseas included four future Hall of Famers: Willie Davis, Frank Gifford, Sam Huff and Johnny Unitas.

In 2004, the NFL donated $250,000 to the USO for the construction of the Pat Tillman USO Center in Afghanistan, located at Bagram Air Base near Kabul. Larry Izzo of the New England Patriots and Warrick Dunn of the Falcons attended the opening of the center last April in Afghanistan. A former Arizona Cardinals safety, Tillman was killed during Army Ranger combat operations in Afghanistan in 2004.

The NFL has a long history of support for the military dating back to the league's inception in the 1920s. During World War II, NFL games were morale boosters and a diversion for a war-weary nation. Nearly 1,000 NFL personnel, from players to coaches to team owners, served in the military during World War II. Over the next four decades, dozens of football stars have made trips for the USO, including Don Meredith, Larry Csonka, Dick Butkus, Gene Upshaw, Terry Bradshaw, Howie Long and Mike Singletary.

In addition, the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders have teamed with the USO for an unprecedented 59 times since 1979 to boost the morale of the men and women of our U.S. military at hundreds of bases and outposts around the world.

For 65 years, the USO has been providing morale, welfare and recreational services to U.S. military personnel and their families. The USO is a nonprofit, charitable organization, relying on the generosity of the American people to support its programs and services. For more information on the USO, visit

The lineup of NFL players on USO tours:

1966Johnny UnitasBaltimore ColtsVietnam
Willie DavisGreen Bay Packers
Sam HuffNew York Giants
Frank GiffordNew York Giants
1967Don MeredithDallas Cowboys
Dick BassLos Angeles Rams
Larry WilsonSt. Louis Cardinals
1968Bart StarrGreen Bay Packers
Wayne WalkerDetroit Lions
Ernie GreenCleveland Browns
Lance AlworthSan Diego Chargers
Andy RussellPittsburgh Steelers
Bill BrownMinnesota Vikings
Bobby BellKansas City Chiefs
John David CrowSan Francisco 49ers
Jack KempBuffalo Bills
1969Billy Ray SmithBaltimore Colts
Irv CrossLos Angeles Rams
Dick SchafrathCleveland Browns
Al AtkinsonNew York Jets
Tommy NobisAtlanta Falcons
Dick WestmorelandMiami Dolphins
Dan ReevesDallas Cowboys
Joe NamathNew York JetsPacific Hospitals
Jim OttoOakland Raiders(Japan, Guam, Philip)
Steve WrightNew York Giants
Marv FlemingGreen Bay Packers
1970Tucker FredericksonNew York GiantsVietnam (Unit No. 1)
Jack SnowLos Angeles Rams17-day visit
Floyd LittleDenver Broncos
Chuck WalkerSt. Louis Cardinals
Paul MaguireBuffalo Bills
Jim NanceBoston Patriots
Len RohdeSan Francisco 49ers
Dan ConnersOakland Raiders
Gary GarrisonSan Diego Chargers
Norman SneadPhiladelphia Eagles
Chris HanburgerWashington Redskins
Jim MarshallMinnesota Vikings
Dick ButkusChicago Bears
Dave WhitsellNew Orleans Saints
George WebsterHouston Oilers
1971John BrownPittsburgh SteelersVietnam (Unit No. 1)
George KunzAtlanta Falcons17-day visit
Fred HoaglinCleveland Browns
Jerry SmithWashington Redskins
Tom WoodeshickPhiladelphia Eagles
George ByrdBuffalo Bills
Jon MorrisBoston PatriotsVietnam (Unit No. 2)
Clint JonesMinnesota Vikings17-day visit
Greg LandryDetroit Lions
Joe ScibelliLos Angeles Rams
Larry CsonkaMiami Dolphins
Bob LillyDallas CowboysPacific Hospitals
Ernie WrightCincinnati Bengals(Japan, Guam, Philip)
Tom MatteBaltimore Colts(Unit No. 3)
Tom DempseyNew Orleans Saints17-day visit
Lem BarneyDetroit LionsDeparted Feb. 4
Mike CurtisBaltimore Colts
1972Manny FernandezMiami DolphinsVietnam (Unit No. 1)
Charlie KrugerSan Francisco 49ers17-day visit
Jack GregoryCleveland Browns
Mike GarrettSan Diego Chargers
Marlin McKeeverLos Angeles Rams
Grady AldermanMinnesota Vikings
John ElliottNew York Jets
John FuquaPittsburgh Steelers
Marlin BriscoeBuffalo Bills
Roger WehrliSt. Louis Cardinals
Otis TaylorKansas City Chiefs
Danny AbramowiczNew Orleans Saints
Bill CurryBaltimore Colts
Donny AndersonGreen Bay Packers
Gene UpshawOakland Raiders
Ken HoustonHouston Oilers
1973Marty DomresBaltimore ColtsKorea (Unit No. 1)
Bill KilmerWashington Redskins17-day visit
Karl KassulkeMinnesota VikingsDeparted Feb. 7
Jim MarsalisKansas City Chiefs
Ken ImanLos Angeles Rams
Archie ManningNew Orleans SaintsThailand (Unit No. 2)
George AtkinsonOakland Raiders17-day visit
Cliff HarrisDallas Cowboys
Joe MorrisonNew York Giants
Mike McCoyGreen Bay Packers
John ZookAtlanta Falcons
1974Jim MandichMiami Dolphins
John GilliamMinnesota Vikings
Art ThomsOakland Raiders
Franco HarrisPittsburgh Steelers
Diron TalbertWashington Redskins
Jack YoungbloodLos Angeles Rams
Bill MunsonDetroit Lions
1975Rocky BleierPittsburgh SteelersPacific Hospitals
Ray MansfieldPittsburgh Steelers(Japan, Guam, Korea,
Carl EllerMinnesota VikingsPhilippines)
Tom MackLos Angeles Rams
Ahmad RashadBuffalo Bills
1976Jack LambertPittsburgh Steelers
Lynn SwannPittsburgh Steelers
James HarrisLos Angeles Rams
D.D. LewisDallas Cowboys
1977George BuehlerOakland Raiders
Ahmad RashadMinnesota Vikings
Jack LambertPittsburgh Stealers
Carl EllerMinnesota Vikings
Steve GroganNew England Patriots
1978Willie BrownOakland Raiders
Lawrence McCutcheonLos Angeles Rams
Russ FrancisNew England Patriots
Mike MontlerDenver Broncos
1979Joe KleckoNew York Jets
Matt BlairMinnesota Vikings
Hank BauerSan Diego Chargers
Jon KolbPittsburgh Steelers
1980Hank BauerSan Diego Chargers
Matt BlairMinnesota Vikings
Bod BrudzinskiLos Angeles Rams
Efren HerreraSeattle Seahawks
1981Dave DalbyOakland Raiders
Mike DavisOakland Raiders
Efren HerreraSeattle Seahawks
Doug WilkersonSan Diego Chargers
1984Gregg BinghamHouston Oilers
Mike DavisLos Angeles Raiders
Russ FrancisSan Francisco 49ers
Mark MayWashington Redskins
Ray WerschingSan Francisco 49ers
2000David FranklinNew Orleans SaintsDMZ, Korea
Dwight HicksSan Francisco 49ersDMZ, Korea
Brett BachNew Orleans SaintsKadena AFB, Okinawa
Keith PooleNew Orleans SaintsKadena AFB, Okinawa
H.R. SilvagniMinnesota VikingsKadena AFB, Okinawa
Bubba WinklerAtlanta FalconsKadena AFB, Okinawa
Carlos BradleySan Diego Chargers/Philadelphia EaglesPrince Sultan AB, Saudi Arabia
David LittlePittsburgh SteelersPrince Sultan AB, Saudi Arabia
Sam HuntNew England PatriotsPrince Sultan AB, Saudi Arabia
Carlton BaileyBuffalo Bills/ NY Giants/ Carolina PanthersSouth Camp, Egypt
Kent HillLos Angeles RamsCamp Bondsteel, Kosovo
Lee RousonNew York JetsCamp Bondsteel, Kosovo
Mike QuickPhiladelphia EaglesPristina, Kosovo
Andy HeadenNew York GiantsPristina, Kosovo
Lorenzo HamptonMiami DolphinsMonteith, Kosovo
Henry LawrenceLos Angeles RaidersMonteith, Kosovo
Russell CarterNew York JetsCamp McGovern, Bosnia
Byron HuntNew York GiantsCamp McGovern, Bosnia
Roland JamesNew England PatriotsCamp Dobol, Bosnia
Ronnie LapetteNew England PatriotsCamp Dobol, Bosnia
Don MacNealMiami DolphinsCamp Comanche, Bosnia
Curtis McGriffNew York GiantsCamp Comanche, Bosnia
Stephen BakerNew York GiantsTask Force Eagle, Bosnia
Scott ConnoverDetroit LionsTask Force Eagle, Bosnia
Pete ShawSan Diego Chargers/ New York GiantsSarajevo, Bosnia
Willie BuchanonGreen Bay Packers/ San Diego ChargersSarajevo, Bosnia
Mark DuperMiami DolphinsTaszar, Hungary
Elmer BaileyMiami Dolphins/ Baltimore ColtsTaszar, Hungary
2001H.R. SilvagniMinnesota VikingsCamp Bondsteel, Kosovo
Bubba WinklerAtlanta FalconsCamp Bondsteel, Kosovo
Carlos BradleySan Diego Chargers/Philadelphia EaglesCamp Monteith, Kosovo
David LittlePittsburgh SteelersCamp Monteith, Kosovo
PJ FosterHouston OilersCamo Doble, Bosnia
Terry WhitePhiladelphia EaglesCamo Doble, Bosnia
Kent HillLos Angeles RamsKorea
Lee RousonNew York JetsKorea
Russell CarterNew York JetsIncirlik Air Base, Turkey
Roland JamesNew England PatriotsKorea
Ronnie LippettNew England PatriotsKorea
Curtis McGriffNew York GiantsBahrain
Scott ConoverDetroit LionsBahrain
Ed HargroveMinnesota VikingsEagle Base, Tulza, Bosnia
2003Jerome BettisPittsburgh SteelersGermany
Eddie GeorgeTennessee TitansGermany
Paul TagliabueNFLGermany
2003Duce StaleyPhiladelphia EaglesIraq, Kuwait, Qatar
Jason TaylorMiami DolphinsIraq, Kuwait, Qatar
2003Jason TaylorMiami Dolphins
Zach ThomasMiami DolphinsGermany
Shelton QuarlesTampa Bay BuccaneersJapan
Marvin JonesNew York JetsJapan
2004Keith BrookingAtlanta FalconsGermany
Warrick DunnAtlanta FalconsGermany
Todd HeapBaltimore RavensGermany
Paul TagliabueNFLGermany
2004Marco RiveraGreen Bay PackersKuwait, Qatar
Brian BaldingerDallas Cowboys, FoxKuwait, Qatar
2004Merton HanksNFLGermany
Mike HaynesNFLGermany
Paul TagliabueNFLGermnay
2005Warrick DunnAtlanta FalconsAfghanistan, Iraq, Kuwait
Larry IzzoNew England PatriotsAfghanistan, Iraq, Kuwait
2006Bryce FisherSeattle SeahawksBalkans, Persian Gulf
Patrick KerneyAtlanta FalconsBalkans, Persian Gulf
Max StarksPittsburgh SteelersBalkans, Persian Gulf

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