It was a simple tweet on Dec. 3 by Dallas Cowboys running back Alfred Morris.
But it speaks volumes about his heart for giving, about where he came from and why he’s more thankful than ever during the holiday season.
Morris was a healthy scratch for the game Sunday against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He likely won’t play Monday against the Detroit Lions and possibly not again for a team that appears to be moving permanently in the direction of Darren McFadden as the primary backup to starter Ezekiel Elliott.
“It’s part of being a professional,” Morris said. “You have to take the bad and the good.
“It’s OK. It’s not always going to be like that. But I’m thankful that I am here. I could be a free agent. I could be at home with a clicker in my hand. I could be doing a lot worse. I could focus on that, but that is small compared to the big picture. I have a lot to be thankful for.”
When Morris talks about being thankful, he points to a childhood where he had to rely on services, programs and other families for something under the tree at Christmas.
It’s why Morris makes a point to give back at this time of year more than ever while encouraging others to do so as well.
I encourage u2 do this program or a similar 1. It’s a difference maker. How do I know? I was a kid recipient many x’s.
Cowboys running back Alfred Morris, on giving each Christmas to programs like The Salvation Army Angel Tree.
That was the point of his tweet earlier this month, urging his followers to support the Salvation Army Angel Tree program.
“I encourage u2 do this program or a similar 1. It’s a difference maker. How do I know? I was a kid recipient many x’s,” tweeted Morris.
Morris grew up with five brothers in Pensacola, Fla. And while both his mother and father worked, they had a tough time feeding, clothing and gifting their six children.
So assistance programs, especially during the holidays, had a huge impact on Morris’ life.
“I said when I make something of myself I want to make sure that I give back,” Morris said. “And I want to encourage people to give because I know the impact that it can have on a kid’s life or a family’s life.”
It was a similar mindset and experience that prompted injured Cowboys guard La’el Collins to give away 71 bikes to kids in his hometown of Baton Rouge, La. on Tuesday.
He also fed their families.
Cowboys guard La’el Collins gave away 71 bikes to kids in his hometown of Baton Rouge, La. on Tuesday.
Collins, who has been out since Week 3 with torn ligaments in his right big toe, was a recipient of a bike giveaway when he was in third grade and wanted to bless kids similarly.
“I came up with the idea of bikes ’cause when I was in elementary school and the image I had of getting a free bike,” Collins said. “I was in third grade and in the classroom and they said, go out and pick up your bike. I thought it would be cool if I did it that way. But I did it with my church.”
This time a year, he can only reflect and be thankful about where he came from and where he is now.
“I grew up less fortunate,” Collins said. “There were things I wanted for Christmas I didn’t get. So I’m in a position now where I can make a difference. It makes me feel good that I can give back because I know what it’s like.”
I was in third grade and in the classroom and they said, go out and pick up your bike. I thought it would be cool if I did it that way. But I did it with my church.
Cowboys guard La’el Collins
Morris said received help through programs during Christmas until he and his siblings were in high school.
And when they didn’t get help, they improvised.
“I remember going in the store and buying board games to wrap up and put it under the tree so it would look good for Christmas,” Morris said. “Christmas and a lot of holidays was about being around family and eating a good meal. And being thankful for what we do have and not worrying about what we didn’t have.”
Morris said his parents worked hard and sacrificed a lot, but six kids meant some assistance was needed.
And when it wasn’t programs, it was help from other families.
It was people out of the kindness of their heart. They did that for us. It helped shape and form the giving heart that I do have.
Alfred Morris, on how other families came through for him and five brothers
“We had families that are like your family now,” Morris said. “They took us under their wings, adopted us as a family. Their kids would pool money together to buy us toys.
“It wasn’t even a program. It was people out of the kindness of their heart. They did that for us. It helped shape and form the giving heart that I do have.”
It’s also makes him more thankful and appreciative at this time of year. He and his wife don’t need assistance to provide a happy Christmas for their son.
It also allows him to put things in perspective as his role has diminished with the Cowboys.
“People take the simple things for granted,” Morris said “I have a lot to be thankful for.”
Cowboys vs. Lions
7:30 p.m. Monday, WFAA/8, ESPN