For eight years, the man in Oakland best known for his philanthropic efforts was Nnamdi Asomugha. He left the Raiders last season as a free agent to join the Philadelphia Eagles. The past few years, Nnamdi has joined TEAM NFL as part of the United Way Empowerment Summit in Washington DC. Asomugha continues to do so as part of the Eagles but with his departure, Michael Huff has picked up the torch and carried it for the Raiders.
"This is my first year, but I'd heard about it before," said Huff. "Nnamdi's been a part of it and you know he was with me a couple years in Oakland, so I definitely kind of heard about it, seen a lot about it, and I definitely wanted to be part of it. I'm definitely glad to be a part of it this year."
For Huff, this effort hits close to home
"I'm just trying to give back and trying to help the kids... I grew up with a lot of guys that didn't finish high school and I go back home and see where they're at now and see what they're struggling through. I want to talk to the younger generation."
This is undoubtedly a similar story to many of these athletes who have brought themselves up from difficult beginnings to have great success in the NFL. But the success started with an education. Huff would never have been accepted to the University of Texas if he hadn't graduated high school with a respectable grade point average.
These efforts start very young. And the United Way and TEAM NFL are making efforts to empower the next generation of young people to give them the tools they need to succeed as Huff and Asomugha did.
Huff's efforts don't stop here.
"I work with the Boys & Girls Club in Dallas and Austin. I don't have my foundation yet, but I'm getting a foundation going. I do a lot of stuff in Oakland with the community, high school, elementary out there."
Then after his work to help these kids, it is back to his craft. "Work. It's all football. We've got a month to get ready for this season. We're looking forward to having a big year."