NFL punter Brian Moorman’s heart is in helping kids, families

Brian Moorman, with writer Natalie Brophy, has made helping the community a priority throughout his National Football League career.

Brian Moorman, with writer Natalie Brophy, has made helping the community a priority throughout his National Football League career.

The 2012-2013 NFL season started out like any other of the past 12 years for punter Brian Moorman. He was playing with the same team that he had been for most of his NFL career, the Buffalo Bills, and doing pretty well. Every Tuesday, he was visiting kids at Roswell Park Cancer Institute as part of the work of the organization he started, the P.U.N.T. Foundation.

It all seemed normal, until he was told after three games that he had been cut from the team.

Brian knew surprises like this are part of the highs and lows of being a professional athlete.

Still, he was shocked.

But Brian wasn’t out of a job for long: The Dallas Cowboys signed him less than 24 hours later.

Moving his family to Dallas and adjusting to a new team weren’t the only things on Brian’s mind.

He also had to focus on keeping his charity going in Western New York.

“One of my biggest concerns was the foundation,” Brian told LSY. “One of the first things I did was call Gwen (Mysiak), our director, and say don’t worry, don’t panic. We’ve been working hard over the years to develop a relationship with this community that I think can hold strong regardless of whether I play for the local NFL team.”

Brian started his charity, the P.U.N.T Foundation, in 2004 to help families with children who are battling cancer.

For Brian, the most rewarding part of his charity is being able to do little things to help the families, from giving them gas and grocery cards, to taking the kids to a Bills game or concert.

“Think about all the things that you do just as a normal teenager or what you did when you were younger,” Brian said. “Those kids don’t get to do those things.”

And although he no longer lives in Buffalo, he has still been able to keep programs running in Western New York, like an eight-kilometer run and one-mile fun walk that was held earlier this summer.

“You have to be passionate about what you’re doing and make people believe in the fact that you’re going to continue things into the future,” Brian said. “I think it will become a little easier as we go and people see that I’m one year gone or two years gone and the foundation is still going strong.”

One of the hardest parts of making the move to Dallas wasn’t football or even keeping his foundation running. It was having to move his family across the country and leave behind the people he has gotten to know so well over the years. But the one thing that has always stayed the same is football.

“It’s still football,” Brian said. “Playing the game itself wasn’t much different. Every game is just as important as the other. I’m just wearing a different number.”

This summer, Brian will be competing for a job with the Pittsburgh Steelers. And even though he is no longer living in Buffalo, it will always have a special place in his heart.

“Part of me will always be in Buffalo,” he said. “That’s not going to change.”

Natalie Brophy, LSY Features Editor, Mount St. Mary Academy

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