Darius Rucker to sing national anthem at Bills-Dolphins

When Darius Rucker sings the nationwide anthem, which he’ll do Sunday when his favourite NFL staff, the Miami Dolphins, host Buffalo, he all the time is struck via the importance of the tune.

The rustic megastar who additionally was once the entrance guy for Hootie & the Blowfish does not merely move on degree and lay down “The Big name-Spangled Banner” the way in which he would possibly one in all his personal hits. No method.

“I by no means assume hours prior to the presentations about making a song my songs, I rise up there and do it,” Rucker says. “However in terms of the anthem, that is all you’re fascinated about for 48 hours, each and every minute.

“You are making a song it in your nation. It is an honor to sing it. You might be representing all of your nation and also you are aware of it, and you recognize everybody will likely be making a song along side you. All of them love The usa.”

Rucker, who mentions his devotion to the Dolphins in “Handiest Wanna Be With You,” additionally has a deep attachment to the South Carolina Gamecocks. Certainly, prior to Rucker carried out at a 9/11 live performance closing Saturday night time with the likes of Zac Brown Band, Lee Brice and Chris Younger, he was once tuned into South Carolina’s win over East Carolina.

His deep involvement in sports activities runs to golfing, together with the Hootie & the Blowfish match the Monday after the Masters that has raised greater than $7 million for schooling and early life golfing techniques in South Carolina. Rucker may have his personal Fans NFL clothes line to be had q4 — sure, it contains all 32 groups, no longer simply the Dolphins.

“It is superb,” he says. “When you find yourself as giant a fan as I’m — I watch each and every sport I will, regardless of who’s enjoying — to be enabled to have those associations with the NFL and to have my emblem on, I’m very proud.”


Rashad Jennings has been an elite athlete his whole lifestyles. Now not best did he spend seven seasons within the NFL, he was once a standout basketball participant in school, with a twin scholarship at Liberty.

When Jennings, who retired from professional soccer in 2016, were given the risk to host International Chase Tag, he was once surprised on the athleticism of the individuals. No, this isn’t the logo of tag you performed as a child.

“Their agility is off the hook,” Jennings says of the development produced via Tupelo Honey and Corridor of Popularity Village Media that happened in Canton, Ohio all over this yr’s Corridor of Popularity enshrinement weekend. “Their stability is unreal, and their talent to pass judgement on the place they’re in house. It is not simple to do. It does sound like a receiver or a operating again, the skillset you should possess as a way to maximize your enjoy within the NFL is the same.

“It’s not that i am pronouncing any of them may just play within the NFL and no longer pronouncing NFL gamers may just move and be international chase tag champs. But when we focal point on it, the chance is there the place lets develop. Like an artist.”

Jennings has a creative bent, too: He gained season 24 of “Dancing With The Stars.” Along with running for Corridor of Popularity Village Media and webhosting the tag tournament on ESPN platforms, he is writing a devotional. A lot of his time is also taken up as “a trainer” of the Corridor of Delusion League, which is in its inaugural season and contains 10 groups representing towns and states national.

Now not a player in delusion soccer when he performed — he admits to from time to time being pissed off that “the fan base was once loopy and dehumanized us such a lot” — Jennings has modified route the way in which, neatly, a tag participant would.

“It is a new enjoy in eating the NFL,” he says. “It’s aggressive and I nonetheless like to compete in anything else I do. And ensure Staff New York (the Bodega Cats) wins. I’m representing the entire New York enthusiasts as a trainer for the staff and letting folks know who they will have to be enjoying and no longer be enjoying a week. I’ve an upscale working out of the sport of soccer. … I’m the name of the game sauce.”


Battlefields2Ballfields (take a look at the cool emblem) is in its 5th yr of selling officiating via awarding scholarships to former army contributors excited by running in quite a lot of sports activities.

To this point, the group based via former NFL officiating leader Mike Pereira, now an analyst for Fox Sports activities, has given out greater than 550 scholarship and has greater than 300 lively officers. They paintings in such sports activities as soccer, basketball, baseball, softball, football, volleyball, wrestling and monitor and box.

“It is still terrific,” Pereira says. “I listen tale after tale of people that get entangled, left being within the army and weren’t fascinated by a lot. They write notes to me how a lot this implies to them and the way they really feel they’re serving once more.”

However the group’s enlargement has ended in a problem as a result of, Pereira says, there’s all the time the problem of elevating sufficient cash to make stronger the reason. Battlefields2Ballfields will host its annual invitational golfing match on the Del Paso Nation Membership in Sacramento, California on Nov. 8. It additionally seems at process festivals and different occasions all through the yr.

“That is one thing that permits them to be ok with themselves and make some more cash,” Pereira explains. “At on the similar time we will lend a hand fill this terrible hollow we have now on this scarcity of officers. In Sacramento, we need to play Thursday night time (highschool soccer) video games as a result of there don’t seem to be sufficient officers for simply Friday and Saturday video games.

“That isn’t simply soccer. This is the entire sports activities.”


The NFL is attaining out to its rising Hispanic fandom whilst celebrating Latinx Heritage Month with quite a lot of new tradition and community-driven actions.

The marketing campaign, “Por Los angeles Cultura,” will focal point at the range and vibrancy of its enthusiasts, gamers, and staff. Grammy Award winner Ozuna will participate all through the season in content material attaining Latinx enthusiasts, and can sign up for with former participant Victor Cruz within the marketing campaign.

Specializing in its 29.2 million robust Latin base in the USA, the initiative can even succeed in to Mexico and Brazil, the place there are greater than 15 million enthusiasts in every nation.

“We’re excited to rejoice the vibrancy, commonalities, and variations throughout the Latinx network thru our new ‘Por Los angeles Cultura’ marketing campaign,” says Javier Farfan, the league’s cultural advertising strategist. “We all know our enthusiasts’ tradition varies via area and nation of foundation. And that our enthusiasts have other language personal tastes.

“We needed to create a platform that celebrates this range and forte to encourage pleasure all yr around.”

To take action, the league for the primary time used its world pathway program and had gamers put on their house nation’s flag along with the U.S. flag on their helmets all over the preseason this yr. The NFL additionally will, thru its social media channels, rejoice the independence days of nations throughout Latin The usa.


After 17 seasons within the NFL and a number of other years as a broadcaster, Corridor of Popularity tight finish Tony Gonzalez stepped clear of the studio this season to pursue performing. He simply completed filming for “Lengthy Sluggish Exhale,” an upcoming girls’s basketball tv drama. Gonzalez additionally stars in a brand new tv industrial for TiVo Circulate 4K. He in the past seemed on episodes of “NCIS” and within the film “xXx: Go back of Xander Cage.”

“I’ve been pursuing it for some time now and I like it,” Gonzalez stated. “It rings a bell in my memory of soccer within the sense that you just be told your performs and then you definately move out at the box and also you execute. It’s no longer such as you move 12 yards and reduce out. It’s about you move there and issues can occur always. And that’s what performing rings a bell in my memory of. You be told your traces, you hammer, you after all get the muscle reminiscence, however then you definately’ve were given to let all of it move after which opt for it.

“And so I like that feeling of freedom. It rings a bell in my memory of that freedom I had when I used to be out at the soccer box utterly within the second seeking to do the most productive process that it’s essential to do. So I’m fortunate that I used to be in a position to get this closing gig. And if anyone needs to stay giving me a task, I’ll take it, as a result of I truly do revel in doing it.”

The 45-year-old Gonzalez was once a first-round draft select via Kansas Town in 1997. He performed 12 seasons with the Chiefs and 5 in Atlanta. He’s the NFL’s all-time chief in catches and yards receiving for a decent finish.


AP Professional Soccer Writers Barry Wilner and Rob Maaddi contributed.


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