NFL begins ‘Salute to Service’ with pledge up to $5 million

NEW YORK (AP) — The NFL began its “Salute to Service ” campaign to honor the nation’s military, veterans and their families by pledging to donate up $5 to its nonprofit partners for every use of the hashtag Salute To Service through Nov. 19.

The league will increase its offering to $25 for every use of the hashtag on Veterans Day, Nov. 11. The NFL donated $1.7 million in a similar campaign last year and is committed up to $5 million this time.

“This month we reflect on the sacrifices of our heroes and increase our focus to ensure more service members, veterans and their families find the assistance they need, when they need it,” said Anna Isaacson, NFL senior vice president of social responsibility.

Beginning Sunday and through November, teams will designate one home game to honor military members and their families. Players will wear helmet decals of military branches.

Since 2011, Salute to Service has raised more than $26 million. The project now includes the Bob Woodruff Foundation. Woodruff suffered a brain injury while reporting on the Iraq War.

Other core military nonprofit partners are the Pat Tillman Foundation, Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors , the USO and the Wounded Warrior Project. The league also partners with the financial services company USAA.

Team owners, general managers, players and former players — including Roger Staubach and Randy Gradishar — make up the list of 32 nominees for the Salute to Service Award.

Paul Allen, the late owner of the Seahawks, and Chargers owner Alex Spanos also are nominated. General managers include the 49ers‘ John Lynch, the Eagles’ Howie Roseman and the Jets’ Mike Maccagnan.

Also nominated are four coaches: Panthers coach Ron Rivera; Bengals defensive line coach Jacob Burney; Saints quarterbacks Coach Joe Lombardi; and Raiders running backs coach Jemal Singleton.

NFL clubs make nominations, with finalists announced in January. The winner will be recognized at NFL Honors, the prime-time program Feb. 2 at which The Associated Press announces its awards for the 2018 season.