Snapshots of Athletes Supporting the Troops

Amber Lee@@BlamberrSports Lists Lead WriterNovember 11, 2015

Snapshots of Athletes Supporting the Troops

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    Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

    Veterans Day honors those who have served in the United States' armed forces—men and women who risk their lives to protect our way of life and often endure significant hardships once they return to civilian life. America’s military veterans deserve so much more than a single day of tribute, but businesses and organizations around the country make the most of the opportunity by coordinating countless Veterans Day events and activities.

    The NFL and other major sports leagues often partner with organizations like the USO to coordinate charitable events and other activities that enable professional athletes to do their part for the troops and their families. And many athletes are involved in USO tours, veterans programs and similar efforts that support the military; even more go out of their way to show their gratitude to those who serve in the armed forces. Instagram is a treasure trove of photos and video clips that showcase the ways athletes support the troops.

    Here are some notable pics of athletes supporting the troops.

Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints

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    The military had a very big presence at the 2015 NFL Pro Bowl in Arizona. Saints quarterback Drew Brees is pictured at a meet-and greet during practice—yet somehow Connor Barwin (to the right of Brees' ball cap) is stealing the moment with his very presence. 

Chris Bosh, Miami Heat

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    Miami Heat star Chris Bosh is actively involved in the team’s Home Strong initiative, which supports and pays tribute to military veterans and their families. Bosh has headlined events like the Home Strong Celebrity Gala and has worked to raise awareness of issues important to servicemen and servicewomen.

Pat McAfee, Indianapolis Colts

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    Indianapolis Colts punter Pat McAfee knows that even something as simple as autographing a jersey can make all the difference—McAfee takes the time to do just that for members of the United States Army attending a home game. 

Tito Ortiz, MMA

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    Retired MMA fighter Tito Ortiz recently posed for this pic with members of the military at Spike TV's Guys Choice Awards. A longtime supporter of veterans, Ortiz has participated in multiple USO Tours worldwide and programs like Pro vs. GI Joe: Rehabbing with the Troops.

Dez Bryant, Dallas Cowboys

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    Dallas Cowboys star wide receiver Dez Bryant showed his support with gloves promoting the NFL's Salute to Service campaign.

Odell Beckham, Jr., New York Giants

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    Also showing his support for the NFL's Salute to Service campaign was New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham, Jr., seen here greeting a member of the United States Marine Corps on the field ahead of their recent game against the Buccaneers in Tampa. 

US Men's Basketball

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    In August 2014, Jeep and the USO held a meet-and-greet between the U.S. men's national basketball team and service members of the United States Air Force in Las Vegas. As part of the event, Jeep agreed to donate $1 to the USO for every Instagram user who shared a photo of their favorite summer moment.

Lorenzo Doss, Denver Broncos

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    Denver Broncos rookie cornerback Lorenzo Doss spent time with Green Berets at Fort Carson in Colorado this week as part of the team's USAA Caravan, which participated in various Veterans Day activities with military men and women.

Trevor Bayne, NASCAR

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    Last year, NASCAR driver Trevor Bayne recorded this salute to the troops at the NASCAR Nationwide Series event at Phoenix International Raceway. Bayne’s No. 6 AdvoCare Ford Mustang sported the USO logo and U.S. Medal of Honor recipient Fred Ferguson’s name to pay tribute to the sacrifices of the nation’s military veterans.

Andrew Luck, Indianapolis Colts

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    Colts quarterback Andrew Luck found time to give back in a big way, joining coach Chuck Pagano and tight end Dwayne Allen on a USO Tour in March. The trio covered seven countries in what must have been an exhausting eight days. 

New York Rangers

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    As part of their Veteran’s Day tribute, members of the New York Rangers met with members of the military and their families following a game at Madison Square Garden. Rangers fans have been posting with the hashtag #NYRSaluteOurTroops

Brandon Marshall, New York Jets

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    New York Jets superstar wide receiver Brandon Marshall recently met with and signed autographs for members of the military at the team’s practice facility, including this particularly Army veteran, who also got a little face time with quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick and center Nick Mangold

Kevin Durant, Oklahoma City Thunder

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    In this photo, Oklahoma City Thunder star Kevin Durant joined a beaming Derek Young, a midshipmen at the U.S. Naval Academy, in giving a salute to the camera.

Steve Spurrier, Retired Coach

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    Actually, the troops are the ones supporting Steve Spurrier after his sudden retirement at South Carolina. But you'd have to assume the feeling is mutual, right?

J.J. Watt, Houston Texans

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    Houston Texans star defensive end J.J. Watt pays tribute to the fallen servicemen who took part in Operation Red Wings in Afghanistan—the single largest loss of life for U.S. Naval Special Warfare since World War II—with this patch marking the date on which the men were killed in action.

The Rock, WWE

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    Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson may be a star actor and WWE wrestler, but he hasn’t lost sight of what truly matters. Earlier this year, Johnson spent Memorial Day with members of HMX-1, the Marine Corps helicopter squadron responsible for transporting the president and vice president.

Peyton Manning, Denver Broncos

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    One year after being released by the Colts, in March 2013 Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning joined a number of current and former professional athletes on a week-long USO Tour. Manning called the event “life-changing” and even blogged about his experience for ESPN. 

Doug Fister, MLB Free Agent

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    Then with the Washington Nationals, pitcher Doug Fister is pictured on stage at an overseas USO Tour during the 2014 holiday season. Also joining him on the tour was former Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher, who is pictured on the far left. 

Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks

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    In 2013, star Seattle Seahawks quarterback and workout warrior Russell Wilson took on a Marine Corps obstacle course at Quantico for a cover shoot with Men’s Fitness magazine. For this photo, Wilson posed with Orlando, one of the Marines who spent the day guiding Wilson through the rigors of the course.