All it takes for Rutgers is one ring of the Bat Phone. Before the question gets asked, the answer is traditionally, “yes, what do you need?”
Whether it be Friday night's charity bowling event or Saturday night's charity basketball event, Rutgers alums line up around the corner to support each other.
“It just shows guys care,” said Jason McCourty. “Beyond that, it shows that the surrounding people that supported us, they all care. To be able to have an event like this, have people show up for different causes and they all want to be a part of this.”
Giving back is not about NFL starpower alone. Charity did not even limit itself to Rutgers, with men like Julio Jones and Jacory Harris also involved. Whether it be two-time champion Devin McCourty or former walk-on receiver Pat Brown, Rutgers football alums want to do the right thing.
Five players under four charitable organizations built the “Super Rally at the Alley,” which raised more than $50,000 Friday night at Chelsea Piers in Manhattan. The McCourty Twins support the Tackle Sickle Cell campaign. Mohamed Sanu leads Sanu's crew and newcomer Michael Burton's “Mike's Knights” support the battle against pediatric cancer.
Rutgers Hall of Famer Brian Leonard, however, is the forefather of the event under the Embrace Kids Foundation out of New Brunswick.
“I think it has a lot to do with Rutgers,” Leonard said. “The Rutgers guys, the people they are, the people they become, and how long they stay in the league and how charitable they are. A lot of it has to do with Rutgers. Pretty much every-single guy that made it in the league from Rutgers has some kind of charitable, charity they represent or they give back in some way I think it has a lot to do with Rutgers and the things that coach (Greg) Schiano instilled with us.”
Multiple Rutgers stars made it a fifth charity in one 24-hour period the next evening in New Brunswick.
Antonio Lowery's fight to help underprivileged kids in New Brunswick took some of the best to New Brunswick High School for a charity all-star game. The game pits Rutgers stars, including Sanu, Leonard, Devin McCourty, Brandon Coleman and Leonte Carroo, against local teams like the New Brunswick Fire Department and New Jersey Special Olympics.
““It’s important because Jersey’s such a small state filled with so many talented people in all aspects of life,” Sanu said. “I just want to give a little bit of inspiration, whether it’s my presence or me saying some words of camaraderie or friendship. To be able to give back to somebody and be able to give that encouragement, listen, you can do anything you set your mind to. Just believe in yourself and chase your dream. So I try to do that as much as I can.”
Lowery's event supported the New Brunswick Teen Center . Lowery himself had no ties to New Jersey before he committed to Schiano out of Miami (Fla.) Christopher Columbus.
“Playing for coach Schiano since 2006, we always went to the Special Olympics and it was amazing to see those kids just happy,” Lowery said. “For their circumstances, to be that happy, I just fell in love with it. It's been pretty amazing.”
The list of Rutgers participants or visitors through both events also included, but was not limited to, Anthony Cioffi, Kevin Malast, Taj Alexander, David Milewski, Mohamed Jabbie, Matthew Hardison, Shamar Graves, Gary Nova, Antwan Lowery, Edmond Laryea, Eric LeGrand, Scott Vallone, Jamaal Westerman and Anthony Davis.
“It's a great feeling to give back,” Carroo said. “Growing up when I was at Rutgers, I always said I wanted to play in events like Antonio's charity game. Now that I graduated, I'm in the NFL, It's great to be with guys like Devin and Mo and Brandon and give back to this community that I love.”