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November 20, 2018

Safety Blitz with Malcolm Jenkins: Thanksgiving combines two of my favorite things — family and football

Eagles NFL

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Malcolm Jenkins is a two-time Super Bowl champion and veteran NFL safety. Each week this season he'll sit down with PhillyVoice's Joe Santoliquito to bring you Safety Blitz.

What often gets lost with professional athletes, and certainly NFL players, is the sacrifices they have to make. From the outside looking in, it’s easy as fans to justify big salaries and the glamour that comes with playing in front of millions on TV and tens of thousands in the stands.

What isn’t seen are the behind-the-scenes sacrifices — namely, family commitments and holidays.

To pro athletes, holidays are almost like regular days of the week. But NFL players get the break of playing once a week, because of the physical demands of the sport.

The Eagles are fortunate enough to not have a game on Thanksgiving Day.

That means Pro Bowl safety Malcolm Jenkins can spend it with his family.

But it doesn’t mean that he won’t have to wake early up for practice or a light run through on Thanksgiving Day before joining his family for the holiday dinner.

“It’s why you never take family time for granted,” Jenkins said. “Thanksgiving, Christmas, it’s always a special time, because it brings everyone together and we can all enjoy the time. It’s a great time to get away from things and relax for a little bit. I’m more fortunate than most guys, because my family is relatively close [from Piscataway, N.J.], so they’re able to make almost every home game and I’m able to see them after the games.

“Most years we plan everything out, like where we’re going to be and who’s coming. But a lot of guys don’t have that luxury. Most guys will fly their families in, and they get together to spend the whole weekend, if we have a home game. You enjoy the family time and then it’s back to work the next day.

“Thanksgiving makes you appreciate the time you have with your family, and how important it is to give. It’s also a great time of year for football. It’s something that you can really share with your family. I remember playing in high school at Piscataway always getting ready to play Franklin [Piscataway’s chief rival]. And then you have what I think is the greatest rivalry in sports — Ohio State and Michigan. To be a part of that is something that you never forget and it’s always with you.”

Two years ago, Jenkins provided some 300 families with Thanksgiving meals and gave out 13 scholarships to college-bound seniors through his Project REWARDS program, according to the Eagles.

Thanksgiving also marks the beginning of his plans for the fourth-annual Holiday Dinner Basket Surprise, delivering toys and meals to needy Philadelphia families during the Christmas holiday season.

Many star athletes have charities and foundations in their names. Not many, however, actually show up and do the actual work for the charity. Instead, they'll put their name on it and then are nowhere to be found.

Jenkins is different.

The two-time Super Bowl champion is always there for the Malcolm Jenkins Foundation and will be there again this year.

“You can call this time of year the calm before the storm, because a lot goes into the holiday basket drive, and my mother and the foundation do a great job of organizing it,” Jenkins said. “It’s still in-season, but I’ve never been one to put my name on something and not be there. The goal is to help people.

“The amount of people that we’ve been able to touch from 2010 when we started the Malcolm Jenkins Foundation has grown far and beyond anything that we ever thought of, and it’s still growing.

“I'm very appreciative of the help we get from the Eagles organization and my teammates. It enables us to touch more lives.”

Follow Malcolm Jenkins on Twitter @MalcolmJenkins and Facebook at Malcolmjenkinsnfl

Visit Malcolm's clothing store, Damari Savile: Born in the City of Brotherly Love, Damari Savile provides made to order suiting for those looking for a more stylish fit for their wardrobe. Located at 709 Walnut Street.

More Safety Blitz: Week 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11

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