It’s a little-known fact that every NFL player gets the option to purchase two tickets for the Super Bowl each year.
As long as the player was active during the regular season, he can do that under the terms of the collective bargaining agreement.
Many players choose not to take that option as they are forbidden from selling those tickets above face value.
Others, however, get the tickets in order to create an unforgettable experience for others.
Christian McCaffrey of the Carolina Panthers went that route.
The star running back is giving his two tickets to a military veteran so he and his wife can attend Super Bowl LIII.
I know you can’t tell, but he’s smiling on the inside after I just dropped 2 tickets on ’em to #SBLIII. Honored to work with @USAA and @WWP and give @Army SGT Alex Somerson a chance to see the big game. That’s how I #HonorThroughAction and my #SaluteToService. pic.twitter.com/4rL3vnMZqk
— Christian McCaffrey (@run__cmc) January 16, 2019
McCaffrey is teaming with NFL Salute to Service partner USAA and the Wounded Warrior Project to send former Army Sgt. Alex Somerson and his wife, Shawna, to the big game in Atlanta.
Shawna Somerson expressed gratitude to McCaffrey on Twitter.
“We are so very excited for this amazing opportunity!!” she said.
We are so very excited for this amazing opportunity!! Thank you so much! pic.twitter.com/F5FnP5rHrt
— Shawna Somerson (@ssomerson05) January 16, 2019
On the eve of the game, McCaffrey will meet with the couple to drop off the tickets at the USAA’s Salute to Service Lounge, which will also feature other veterans as well as NFL players and coaches.
“Teaming up with USAA and the Wounded Warrior Project to award a trip to the Super Bowl to a military veteran is a special honor,” McCaffrey said in a statement. “I am very much looking forward to meeting Sergeant Alex Somerson and his wife in Atlanta at the Super Bowl and personally thank both of them for their service to our country.”
Somerson is a North Carolina native who served from 2004 to 2009. He was twice deployed to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, and he earned the Combay Infantry Badge.
Upon returning home, Somerson was diagnosed with PTSD. He has been involved with the Wounded Warrior Project since 2011.
McCaffrey has participated in the NFL’s Salute to Service program since his rookie season, and last spring he visited veterans at the Patriot Military Family Foundation in North Carolina.
Other members of the Panthers organization also have strong ties to the military.
Head coach Ron Rivera’s father, Eugenio, was a Puerto Rican commissioned officer in the Army. Rivera grew up in military bases all over the world, including Panama, Germany and Washington.
Kicker Graham Gano’s father, Mark, was a Vietnam veteran who was stationed in Scotland when Graham was born there. Mark Gano was a U.S. Navy master chief petty officer, and military service runs through various generations of the Gano family.
Safety Eric Reid’s mother, Sharon, served for six years in the Louisiana Army National Guard. She worked her way up to sergeant and would have been deployed to the Gulf War in 1991 if she wasn’t pregnant with Eric.
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