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Community Conversation: Corey Nelson

Why is it so important for you as an NFL player to give back to the community?

"I feel like it's important because we're in a blessed position and we have an opportunity to change lives by the sport that we play. Football is one of the most renowned sports known to man around the world, and with that comes a lot of responsibility and people looking up to you. It's good to give back because it shows them that you're a normal person—you're just like them—and it shows them they can be successful, just as successful as you whenever you're giving back."

Did you spend time doing community service during college at Oklahoma?

"I did some community service in college—it was kind of on my own, volunteer work. Some people asked me to speak to kids and I went and spoke. Some people asked me to give out gifts at a daycare and I went and did that. It's a thing I've wanted to do and did some in college."

What made you become so involved in community service your rookie year?

"I'm the type of person who wants to give back. I've always felt like that's my passion to always give back, give what I have to the world. Coming in, I knew that with the platform I had and the status that I've been blessed with that I wanted to give back because that was what I was called to do, that's my purpose."

When you were younger and had people speak to you as mentors did you ever think you would one day be in their shoes?

"People came and spoke and I took it in with a grain of salt. I didn't really think that I would be doing the same things they were doing. It kind of happened in my later years growing up, coming out of high school and being in college and seeing the influence I had and the impact I could have on people's lives. That's what made me want to start doing it—being able to see the influence that I had when I was in college."

You were involved with many of the surprise visits to high school football practices as part of the Broncos High School Game of the Week series. What made you get involved with those?

"You have a lot of high school kids who don't really know whether they want to go to college or whether they want to continue playing sports or whether they want to do whatever they want to do—there is a lot of uncertainty there. With me, I just felt like I could be a light to help them, be an inspiration to them as well and let them know they can do anything they want to do if they just believe. I was in their shoes once and I know how it feels. When an NFL player or someone speaks to them, I know it builds up a fire and motivation inside of them to do whatever they may want to do. That's what made me want to do it and that's what gave me the motivation to do it."

What do you think your reaction would have been if an NFL player surprised you and spoke to you at one of your high school football practices?

"Man, I would have been blown away! Especially if they told me they made it and I could make it too—stuff like that to let you know you can do anything you want to do if you put your mind to it and if you work hard. If an NFL player did that, that would have been amazing. I would have been able to embrace those moments and embrace that day. So that's how I look at it."

Were there any NFL players who inspired you to become involved in the community?

"It wasn't anyone that I looked up to, but when I got to the Broncos—in the linebackers room we have the awards players have gotten on the wall. I remember seeing [former Broncos LB Wesley Woodyard] 'Woody' on there for the Walter Payton Award (given to players who excel in the community). And then when we were in our rookie presentation they were talking about the Walter Payton Award and just looking at that, that kind of inspired me because it was like, 'Wow, they really are highly involved in community—this team is—and that's what I want to do.' So I would say he's the one who inspired me to want to get involved immediately."

What has been your favorite community event that you have participated in?

"They're all great. I always get something from each and every one of them. I always learn something new and embrace something from each and every one of them. They're all unique in their own way. There isn't one particular one that stands out—they all stand out to me because they all changed my heart in some way."

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