Linda Robbins, December 9, 2013
Though he hasn?t played in an NFL game since 2006, Purdue-grad Mike Alstott is one of the most beloved players in Tampa Bay Buccaneers history.
Alstott?s name still litters Purdue record books, almost 20 years after he left West Lafayette. He is the Boilermakers? all-time leader in career rushing yards (3,635) and set the single-season rushing yards record (1,436) in 1995.
He went on to have a lengthy NFL career that included six Pro Bowls, three All-Pro selections, and a Super Bowl championship with the Bucs, but his impact on the Tampa area went far beyond his success on the field.
?Ever since I started in the league, it was instilled in me how important it was to give back,? Alstott said. ?From the Buccaneers staff to Coach Dungy, it was taught to us early in our careers and became a way of life, really.?
That belief led to the Mike Alstott Foundation, which he founded in 2007. The foundation works with various agencies and organizations with the goal to uplift the spirits of families and children and to help them overcome life-altering obstacles through various events, assistance programs and celebrations.
?When I knew my playing career was winding down, my wife and I decided the best way to keep giving back was through a foundation,? Alstott said. ?Since I wouldn't have the resources of the team for much longer, the next logical step was formalizing everything and making sure it was all done the right way.?
Through the foundation, Alstott makes regular visits to the All-Children?s Hospital in St. Petersburg and has raised money for the Children?s Cancer Center in Tampa, as well. Other ventures such as Sallie House, a safe haven for children, and Children?s Village, a foster care community, have also been beneficiaries of the foundation?s work.
?We try to grow our impact each year,? Alstott said. ?Even though I'm not actively playing in the NFL, I had the privilege of playing [in Tampa Bay] for 12 years so I was able to get well rooted in this community.?
Alstott is a regular at the Purdue spring football game every April and he attended this season?s Homecoming game against Northern Illinois, where he led the traditional playing of ?Shout? before the fourth quarter.
For more information about he Mike Alstott Foundation, go to: http://www.mikealstottfamilyfoundation.org/