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Ware, teammates give back


DENVER- ** On Monday afternoon at the Boys and Girls Club of Metro Denver, kids were amazed by the size of Marvin Austin's biceps and compared their short statures to Kenny Anunike's 6-foot-4 frame.

Austin and Anunike, along with DeMarcus Ware, Ben Garland, Juwan Thompson and Steven Johnson, took a break from preparing for Sunday's game to give back to the community by spending time at the Boys and Girls Club. The Broncos played games, showed their basketball skills and took pictures with the kids.

While the kids had a great time meeting their favorite Broncos, the players also enjoyed their afternoons.

"It's a blessing, it brings a smile to our faces, a lot of us have younger siblings that look up to us and I mean we're not always around them, so being able to come out to the community and be around younger children, it's like being around those siblings that you're not around all the time," Thompson, who has two younger siblings, said.

Ware invited his teammates to join him at the Boys and Girls Club and, after their afternoon with the players, Ware provided tickets for the kids for an advanced screening of the movie "Annie."

DeMarcus Ware and five of his teammates spent Monday afternoon at the Boys and Girls Club of Metro Denver.

Johnson, who Thompson said was the Broncos' best performer on the basketball court, played basketball until high school. While he hadn't played in a while, he acknowledged that he still has "a few skills." Johnson showed those skills off as he and the Broncos played against the kids on the court.

Johnson said he grew up less fortunate so he relates to the the people at the Boys and Girls Club. He had an important message for them.

"For guys like us we didn't have everything growing up," Johnson said. "We just want to be able to relay things like that to these kids, saying hey you can do anything you want in life if you put your mind to it. Always just showing your face because you never know if these kids have single parent households and stuff like that but we can serve as mentors and ultimately they look up to us because we're professional athletes, but we're just normal people and we're just always trying to give back."

When Ware was growing up in Alabama, he met Bo Jackson and members of the Auburn football team. Jackson mentored him and Ware took something that Jackson told him to heart.

"He was from Alabama and when he sort of told me it doesn't really matter what you have, where you come from or what type of facilities you're at, it's what you make of it," Ware said. "You just have to make the best of what you have and that's what I did. Now I'm playing in the NFL, doing some of the things that he did – being a role model, a professional athlete and returning that favor because I know how much that meant to me."

While Ware lost at pool and Thompson said he should "stick to football," he had a great time with his teammates. Ware noted that while spending the afternoon at the Boys and Girls Club is a small act for him and his teammates, he said it's "really big" for the kids.

Ware knows that first hand after his experience meeting Jackson and he hopes to be a mentor like Jackson was to him.

"You never know how far they [the kids] can go," Ware said. "They could be the next president, the next doctor that's fixing one of us, you never know."

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