Atlanta Falcons running back Devonta Freeman is having a fantastic year. Sure, he's slowed down significantly in the second half of the season. Blaming him would be misguided, because as the offense goes, he goes. Throw in a concussion that kept him out of the week 12 loss to the Minnesota Vikings and Freeman is probably a little frustrated right now. Respect. But the man has nearly 1,400 all-purpose yards this year. For a second year player that somehow lost his "camp battle" against rookie Tevin Coleman, that's not bad. Not bad at all.
But Freeman is much more than what he does on the field. He had a difficult childhood, and at 23 years old, he's not far removed from that life. So what does he do? He gives back. A lot. And with all the doom and gloom around here these days, I want to turn your attention to the commendable off-the-field efforts our starting running back has undertaken. In short, Freeman is looking to parlay his successes in 2015 into charity. He's always been a charitable guy, but now he's got the platform to make a real difference. The Mothership's Jay Adams wrote a fantastic article about Freeman and his desire to give back. I'd strongly suggest you read it, if you haven't already.
But even before anyone in Atlanta really knew him as anything other than a mid-round draft pick by the Falcons who was backing up Steven Jackson, Freeman connected with the city's underprivileged areas. One night, he ventured into Atlanta's west side and went door-to-door, introducing himself to residents living in the shadow of the Georgia Dome.
With all the negative publicity surrounding NFL players these days, stories like these really resonate. Freeman is a great football player. But he's also a really good person. And that's worth taking note of.