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NFL to 'Give Thanks. Give Back'

NEW YORK (Nov. 22, 2006) -- For millions of Americans, Thanksgiving represents a time to give thanks and give back to people in need. It is also a time for family traditions and gatherings, many times centered around America's favorite sport -- football.

While sharing the traditional feast with family and friends, this year for the first time, NFL fans will be treated to three Thanksgiving Day games -- Miami at Detroit (CBS, 12:30 p.m. ET), Tampa Bay at Dallas (FOX, 4:15 p.m. ET), and Denver at Kansas City (NFL Network, 8 p.m. ET). The Broncos-Chiefs game marks the first live regular-season game on the NFL Network.

As part of the NFL's overall annual "Give Thanks. Give Back" campaign of community service, actor Delroy Lindo will narrate a 90-second public service announcement which will appear in stadium and on television during halftime of all three games. This NFL Films-produced piece features a montage of NFL players, owners and team personnel giving back to their communities. For the first time ever, the NFL is encouraging fans to give back to those in need by giving them an opportunity to bid for a cause at www.NFLAuction.NFL.com where they can purchase autographed items and merchandise. Beginning Thanksgiving Day and lasting through the holiday season, the NFL will donate all proceeds from NFL Auction sales to team foundations or national charities such as The Salvation Army and United Way of America.

Prior to the games, on Thanksgiving morning, four former NFL stars will ride an NFL float in the 80th Annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. Recently crowned Champion of ABC's top-rated show Dancing with the Stars and all-time leading NFL rusher Emmitt Smith will join fellow NFL greats, Harry Carson, Wayne Chrebet and Eric Dickerson.

In Detroit, 16-year-old country music sensation Taylor Swift will sing the national anthem and Rock and Roll Hall of Famer John Fogerty will perform in the United Way-themed halftime show. Immediately following his performance, Fogerty will then fly to Kansas City to perform during halftime of the Broncos-Chiefs game at Arrowhead Stadium. In Dallas, Grammy award-winner Kelly Clarkson will sing the national anthem and Country Music Award winner Carrie Underwood will perform in a Salvation Army-themed show.

NFL teams and players are also joining in the spirit by donating their time and thousands of turkeys this Thanksgiving season for families in need in their communities.

Below are a few examples of what NFL teams and players are doing this week.

In the spirit of the season, several Baltimore Ravens players will provide Thanksgiving fixings to more than 1,600 Baltimore families. Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis, wide receiver Mark Clayton, volunteers from Morgan State University's football team, and young men representing the Urban Leadership Institute will distribute Thanksgiving meal ingredients and personal care items to 400 families in East Baltimore this week. Ravens linebacker Adalius Thomas has donated money to pay for 300 Thanksgiving dinners to families with small children.

Even in their first year, NFL players are rolling up their sleeves to give back. The Chicago Bears rookies will help serve a traditional Thanksgiving feast to hundreds of children and teens at the 19th Annual Thanksgiving Dinner for the Children of Maryville Youth Academy event.

Since they will be on the field on Thanksgiving Day, the Dallas Cowboys players, cheerleaders and mascot Rowdy will host an early Thanksgiving dinner for more than 200 less fortunate men and women at The Salvation Army's homeless shelter.

The Detroit Lions will host their 16th Annual Detroit Lions Coat Drive at the Thanksgiving Day game. Fans attending Thursday's game will have the opportunity to donate warm coats and/or blankets to help keep the needy warm this winter.

Indianapolis Colts Owner Jim Irsay is donating $25,000 to the Mozel Sanders Thanksgiving Dinner. Through the event, more than 25,000 Indianapolis-area residents will receive a hot meal on Thanksgiving Day. In addition, Irsay will join several Colts players to serve a Thanksgiving meal to individuals at Wheeler Mission, a non-profit organization that provides much-needed goods and services to homeless and low-income families in Indianapolis. He will donate $10,000 to this Great Thanksgiving Banquet program.

For 13 years, the Kansas City Chiefs have joined the Derrick Thomas/Neil Smith "Third and Long Foundation" to give back to the community during the holiday season. Chiefs defensive end Eric Hicks led the annual drive by collecting donations from fellow teammates, coaches and team President Carl Peterson. With monies collected from the team and outside sources, the Chiefs will be able to provide food to feed 700 families this Thanksgiving. This annual tradition was begun by the late Chiefs linebacker Derrick Thomas. Since his death, the team continues to keep this tradition alive in his honor.

Miami Dolphins players, coaches and team staff donated more than $70,000 to purchase nearly 1,400 turkey dinners complete with all the fixings, feeding more than 14,000 people this holiday. More than 25 Dolphins players distributed the meals at Dolphin Stadium this week.

San Diego Chargers running back LaDainian Tomlinson has teamed with several local organizations to host the Fifth Annual Giving Thanks with L.T. & Friends Holiday Program, where he along with his community team will distribute 1,500 Thanksgiving dinners to families in need. Chargers linebacker Shaun Phillips, defensive end Luis Castillo and some of their teammates will host more than 45 children at the Boys and Girls Club of Poway to make thank-you cards for 150 U.S. soldiers located in the San Diego area.

Washington Redskins owners Daniel M. Synder and Dwight Schar, and Redskins players and their families will join the Hogettes and more than 300 corporate volunteers to distribute Thanksgiving food baskets at FedExField to local residents in need. Each pre-selected family in attendance will receive a turkey with all of the fixings and all children in attendance will receive a special children's gift bag which includes books, toys and treats. Select players will also deliver food to local home-bound residents, including several local nursing homes.

Tuesday is the traditional day off for NFL players during the season, but many players also use their day off to "go to work" in their communities.

For more information on what NFL teams are doing to give back this Thanksgiving holiday or on Tuesdays during the season visit www.jointheteam.com or your favorite team web site.

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