Military ties to the NFL


Since some TV stations air overseas troops cheering on NFL teams during halftime shows, it’s nice to know which NFL players have had personal relationships with veterans.

Eagles wide receiver Hank Baskett, left, the husband of actress Kendra Wilkinson, comes from a family with deep military ties. (Agence France-Presse file photo)

Below is a list of family ties players have with service members, which was part of a feature in the NFL’s Kickoff Guide called “The NFL salutes the military in many ways.”

Scroll down and you’ll find out that both parents of Cincinnati Bengals linebacker Dhani Jones, that guy from Travel Channel, completed military duty and New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees’ grandfather served in World War II.

Keep an eye out for New England Patriots’ running back Thomas Clayton, whose father finished 25 years in the Army as a sergeant first class, Philadelphia Eagles cornerback Ellis Hobbs whose father retired as a sergeant major and free agent safety Mark Roman, who has had five brothers (of six) suit up for the Army.

Supporting the military is part of the fabric of the NFL. This support takes place both at home and abroad, with NFL players and coaches traveling overseas to salute the troops, as well as teams recognizing the dedication and sacrifice of our servicemen and women around Veteran’s Day and throughout the year.




DB Phillip Adams San Francisco Father served in the Army
DE Jared Allen Minnesota Grandfather, Ray, served in the Marines and his brother, Scot, recently graduated from Marine Corps boot camp
G/C Eugene Amano Tennessee Father served in the Navy for 25 years
T Shawn Andrews Free agent Brother, Derrick, who is a sergeant in the army and recently finished a term in Kuwait
G/T Stacey Andrews Philadelphia Brother, Derrick, who is a sergeant in the army and recently finished a term in Kuwait
DE Kentwan Balmer San Francisco Cousin is in the Marines
LB Tully Banta-Cain New England Father, Adam, played football for the Naval Academy
WR Hank Baskett Philadelphia Father spent over 30 years in the Air Force; mother served as CFO at Clovis Air Force Base, N.M.; brother served in the Army for over 10 years
WR Bernard Berrian Minnesota Parents, Sallie and Joseph, are retired Air Force mechanics
DT Ryan Boschetti Oakland Grandfather served in World War II
DB Zack Bowman Chicago Father, Zackary, is a Master Sergeant in the Air Force
QB Drew Brees New Orleans Grandfather served in World War II
WR Kenny Britt Tennessee Sister, Specialist Laura Johnson serves at Victory Base Camp in Iraq
S C.C. Brown Detroit Currently in the National Guard; unit is prepared for Afghanistan if needed
T Jammal Brown Washington Father, Charles, is retired from the Army
C Jason Brown St. Louis Brother, Lunsford, served in Iraq and was killed in 2003
OL Kyle Calloway Buffalo Father, Ed, and mother, Nancy, served in the Air Force. Both of his grandfathers served in the Army. Brother, Kevin, serves in the Air Force, stationed in Bahrain
LB Caleb Campbell Detroit Served in the Army
QB David Carr San Francisco Grandfather served in the Air Force; Brother-in-law is in the Marines
CB Nolan Carroll Miami Father, Nolan, Sr., was a senior master Air Force sergeant. Mother, Jennifer, was a Navy Lieutenant Commander
Former head coach Brad Childress Minnesota Son, Andrew, is in the Marines, currently deployed in Afghanistan; Father was in the Army, stationed in Germany
LB Danny Clark Houston Has twin brothers in the armed forces – Jason (Air Force) and Joshua (Marines)
RB Thomas Clayton New England Father was a Sergeant First Class in the Army for 25 years
CB Nate Clements San Francisco Father served in the Army
Defensive coordinator Gunther Cunningham Detroit Father was a sergeant in the Air Force
T Anthony Davis San Francisco Grandfather served in the Army
DE Rulon Davis Free agent Served four years in the Marines, including a six-month tour in Iraq
OL Evan Dietrich-Smith Green Bay Brother, Alex, is a Specialist-Team Leader in 10th Mountain Division of the Army
General manager Mark Dominik Tampa Bay Father Glenn was in the Navy; Brother, Todd, was in the Navy; Grandfather, Edward was in the Army during WWII
QB Trent Edwards Buffalo Father, Andy, flew reconnaissance missions during Vietnam War; Maternal grandfather was awarded Navy Cross for Valor during bombing of Pearl Harbor
DE Chris Ellis Buffalo Father and mother served in the Army and Navy, respectively
DE Demetric Evans San Francisco Has cousins in both the Army and Navy
FB Jerome Felton Detroit Brother, Simon, is in the Army and currently serving in Afghanistan
CB Cortland Finnegan Tennessee Mother served 20 years in the Army
WR Larry Fitzgerald Arizona Attended Valley Forge (PA) Military Academy after high school; his grandfather was a Lieutenant in the Army who won a purple heart for his service in Korea; aunt and uncle, Paul and Sam Jones, are both Lieutenant Colonels in the Army.
CB Drayton Florence Buffalo Father, Drayton, Sr. is a retired Army medic; sister, Lakisha, is currently serving in the Army
Head coach John Fox Carolina Father was a member of one of the original Navy SEAL teams created by President John F. Kennedy in the early 1960s
C Hank Fraley St. Louis Brother was stationed with the Army in Iraq; father is a Vietnam veteran
Head coach Chan Gailey Buffalo Father, Tom, was in the Marines
K Graham Gano Washington Has two brothers in the Navy and Father was in the Marines
K Shayne Graham Baltimore Father served in the Army in Vietnam
Linebackers coach Kevin Greene Green Bay Served as a captain for 16 years in the Army Reserve during the offseasons when he was an NFL player
S Cedric Griffin Minnesota Mother served in the Navy; father served in the Air Force
S Michael Griffin Tennessee Mother served in the Navy; father served in the Air Force
FB Ahmard Hall Tennessee Served four years in the Marines (3rd Battalion, 8th Marines out of Camp Lejeune, NC), including missions in Kosovo (1999) and Afghanistan (2002)
WR Chad Hall Philadelphia Attended the Air Force Academy and was a second lieutenant at Hill Air Force Base in Salt Lake City, UT
LB Parys Haralson San Francisco Grandfather served in the Army
LB Adam Hayward Tampa Bay Brother and sister served in the Army and cousin was in the Marine Corps.
CB Ellis Hobbs Philadelphia Father, Ellis Hobbs, Jr., served for over 30 years and graduated as a Sergeant Major before retiring from the military
DE Jason Hunter Detroit Father, James, served 25 years in the 82nd Airborne Division in the Armed Forces
G Mike Iupati San Francisco Brother-in-law is currently serving in the Army
RB Steven Jackson St. Louis Father served in the Marines
WR Vincent Jackson San Diego Father, Terrence, was an Army medic
LB Dhani Jones Cincinnati Both parents served in the military
Special teams assistant Ben Kotwica New York Jets Served in the Army as an Apache helicopter pilot in Iraq
LB Manny Lawson San Francisco Father, Donald, served in the Air Force
Head coach Marvin Lewis Cincinnati Father was in the Army, was stationed in Germany
LB Ben Leber Minnesota Father, Al, was stationed in Korea with the Army when he met Ben’s mother, Han
T Phil Loadholt Minnesota Father was a Sergeant First Class in the Army
Head coach Eric Mangini Cleveland Father served in the Navy
Assistant head coach / defensive line coach Rod Marinelli Chicago Served a one-year tour of duty in Vietnam
QB Ingle Martin Kansas City Uncle, Chris, is a Lieutenant Commander and pilot for the Navy
C Kevin Mawae Free agent Father served in the Army for 23 years, including two tours in Vietnam
FB Jason McKie New Orleans Father spent 23 years in the Air Force
T Marcus McNeill San Diego Mother, Leola, is a Colonel in the Air Force, stationed at Dobbins AFB inMarietta, GA
T Pat McQuistan Dallas Brother is in the Air Force
DT Roy Miller Tampa Bay Father and cousin served in the Army
DE/DT Kyle Moore Tampa Bay Father, Joseph, served in the Army for 22 years.
RB Sammy Morris New England Father, Sammy, was an Air Force Staff Sergeant; brother, Brien, serves in the Air Force
DE CJ Mosley Cleveland Father, Calvin Mosley Sr., is a retired First Master Sergeant with the United States Army
G Jamar Nesbit Free agent Father, Ronald, works for the Army Corps of Engineers
DE Igor Olshansky Dallas Father was in the Russian Army; grandfather fought for the Russian Red Army in World War II
DT Mike Patterson Philadelphia Uncle was a sergeant at Los Alamitos Army Base
TE Justin Peelle Atlanta Grandfather is a retired Navy captain
Special teams coordinator Mike Priefer Denver Served in the Navy (1991-94) as a helicopter pilot and was stationed in the Persian Gulf
DE Melila Purcell Free agent Father is an active reservist in the Army
WR Josh Reed Buffalo Brother (Army) and cousin (Navy) recently served in Iraq
G Tyler Reed Free agent Father, Gary, played football for the Naval Academy from 1971-75
Head coach Andy Reid Philadelphia Father served in the Navy in World War II
FB Tony Richardson N.Y. Jets Father was a Sergeant Major in the Army; sister, part of Desert Storm, is serving in the Army at Fort Bragg, NC
Defensive coordinatorRon Rivera San Diego Father was an Army officer; Ron lived in three countries as a child
S Mark Roman Free agent Five of his six brothers served in the Army
CB Lydell Sargeant Buffalo Father, Drew, served in the Air Force for more than 20 years
LB Cody Spencer Free agent Brother serves in the Army, currently stationed in Iraq
T Joe Staley San Francisco Grandfather was in the Navy during the Korean War; uncle was in the Navy
DT Randy Starks Miami Father served in the Army for over 20 years, mostly in Germany
TE Tony Stewart Oakland Father, Malcolm, was in the Army and stationed in Germany when Tony was born
Quarterbacks coach Mike Sullivan N.Y. Giants Graduate of Army Airborne, Ranger and Air Assault schools
CB Charles Tillman Chicago Father was an Army sergeant; Charles attended 11 schools in 13 years
LB Pat Thomas Free agent Father was a Chief Petty Officer in the Navy
DE Dave Tollefson N.Y. Giants Brother is a Marine
Head coach Norv Turner San Diego Father served in the Marines
K Lawrence Tynes N.Y. Giants Father served in the Navy as a Master Chief
LB DeMarcus Ware Dallas Wife, Taniqua, served in the Air Force
Defensive line coach Mike Waufle Oakland Served in the Marine Corps from 1972-1975
DE Mario Williams Houston Brother-in-law served in the Army and was killed in Iraq
WR Troy Williamson Jacksonville Brother is a career Marine, who just returned from Iraq; sister serves in the Navy
LB Patrick Willis San Francisco Father was in the National Guard
Owner/president Ralph Wilson Jr. Buffalo Navy veteran, served in WWII
LB Will Witherspoon Tennessee Father was in the Air Force
DB Dexter Wynn Free agent Mother is a retired Air Force civil engineer who served in the Gulf War

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  1. Joe Lombardi, QB coach for New Orleans Saints, Air Force Academy Tight End, Captain in USAF

    Troy Calhoun, Head Coach Air Force Academy, Air Force Academy QB, Defensive Assistant, Denver Broncos, Offensive Coordinator Houston Texans

  2. Who cares? Very few if any of them actually served. I don’t think it matters what their relatives did, it doesnt make them patriots by osmosis.

  3. Caleb Campbell never served. He helped coach a football team during his time between USMA and going to the NFL. Coaching at West Point is not serving.

  4. I’m Lawrence tynes’ Father Larry Tynes.
    I spent 22 years in the Navy and retired as Hospital Corpsman Master CHief and Lawrence’s older brother served seven years active U S Army and currently is a Staff Sergeant with his reserve unit in North Carolina. Thanks for the article. a Pround Dad

  5. I am Master Sergeant Lisha Lewis, cousin of Green Bay Packers WR, Greg Jennings. My unit: 127th Civil Engineering Squadron, Selfridge A.N.G.B., Michigan, will be deploying soon to Afghanistan. Please keep us in your prayers and GO NFC in the Pro Bowl!
    Proud to Serve.

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