View this post on Instagram
16 “This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. 17 If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person? 18 Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth” 1 John 3:16-18 Thank You To Everyone Who Helped Make This Possible! #nayyyytion
Deonte Harris can be counted in the group of New Orleans Saints players doing their part to help their communities. The second-year returns specialist out of Assumption College had an electrifying rookie season, leading the NFL in punt return yards and earning a spot on the Pro Bowl roster, as well as recognition on the All-Pro first team list from the Associated Press. Not bad for someone who went from playing in front of crowds maybe 2,800-strong to the Mercedes-Bez Superdome, which regularly seats more than 73,000 roaring spectators.
But Harris’s most important contributions came in the offseason, when he donated over 10,000 meals for local food banks in New Orleans and Baltimore, his hometown. The coronavirus pandemic has caused a surge in unemployment as tourism industries and small businesses struggle to turn a profit, leading to a ripple effect in heightened stress on public school lunch programs and food banks.
What’s impressive about Harris’s actions is that this wasn’t a small gesture for him. He’s nowhere close to ranking among the NFL’s highest-paid players; in fact, his $678,333 salary cap hit for 2020 barely qualifies for offseason salary cap accounting purposes. While Harris is bringing in extra income through endorsement deals with Under Armour and the men’s grooming company Manscaped (which he’s stumping for like a champ), it’s not as simple an equation for him to give freely like this as it may be for some of his peers.
And that speaks to the kind of character the Saints have worked hard to stock their locker room with. Community-minded people like Harris are great fits alongside advocates for social justice like Demario Davis and Malcolm Jenkins, and Cameron Jordan, Thomas Morstead, and Drew Brees. It’s easy to see how they can all give each other examples of how to use their resources and platforms to make the world a better place.