Jets treat US military to flag football game in Afghanistan

BY foxsports • August 26, 2016

NEW YORK (AP) The New York Jets saluted the U.S. military by helping throw a green-and-white flag football game in Afghanistan.

Service members from the 10th Mountain Division, 518th Resolute Support Sustainment Brigade and the 25th Signal Battalion of the U.S. Army took the field Friday at Bagram Air Base with custom-made jerseys donated by the Jets.

The green game jerseys had ''Resolute'' sewn on the back, while the white ones sported ''Support'' as part of the New York-themed sports day at the largest U.S. military base in Afghanistan, which was dubbed ''Mission Resolute Support.''

The military service members competed in an 8-on-8 game that included Col. Seung Paik, Lt. Col. Oscar Malave and Lt. Col. Cedric Gaskin. The Jets also provided footballs, coaching clipboards, kicking tees and awards for team MVPs.

After the game, Jets center Nick Mangold and wide receiver Eric Decker spoke to the participants via Skype.

''I wanted to personally thank them for their service and support abroad,'' Mangold said in a statement issued by the team. ''I admire and respect their sacrifice and dedication to service.''

The Bagram AFB Sports Day, attended by more than 100 service members, also included a baseball game, a volleyball match, a cornhole tournament, a 3-point contest and a tailgate that included food and music. Blue Star Mothers of America, a nonprofit organization, also provided packages of snacks.

Steve Castleton, the Jets' military liaison, approached the team last November about becoming involved in some way with the soldiers in Afghanistan. It started with the Jets planning to send them T-shirts to wear while playing pickup football. It eventually grew into an even bigger event.

''The idea was to do a football game where the soldiers can have a day where they did not have to worry about defending our freedom,'' Castleton said in a statement. ''They only had to worry about defending against the deep pass or a sweep to the outside.''


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