National media outlets recently profiled how two NFL players with Utah ties — former BYU linebacker Kyle Van Noy and former Utah quarterback Alex Smith — are helping foster children.
Van Noy, the New England Patriots linebacker who himself was adopted, organized an event along with his wife Marissa that distributed Christmas trees, lights, ornaments, toys and new children’s winter coats to 200 Boston-area foster families on Saturday.
Among the Patriots teammates who helped Van Noy at the event were former Utes Trevor Reilly and Eric Rowe, according to ESPN.
“They’ll be able to take it all home and enjoy Christmas because for my family Christmas is a big thing,” Van Noy told The Telegram & Gazette. “We did whatever we could to have a big Christmas party."
Smith's work helping foster youth graduate from college was profiled by NFL Network.
The NFL Gameday Morning video shared how Smith's mother helped the Kansas City Chiefs quarterback chose to partner with San Diego State to create the Alex Smith Foundation Guardian Scholars Program, which helps emancipated foster youths earn a college education.
According to NFL GameDay Morning, 81 percent of those individuals enrolled in the Guardian Scholars Program have graduated from college.
The profile included the story of Sade Burrell, who graduated from San Diego State. Alex Smith's mother, Pat, explained that Burrell graduated from college as a single mother and went on to graduate school and received a scholarship to USC. She now works at a community college, working with former foster youth. "When she works with kids, she's got quite the message," Pat Smith said.
"It's not a foundation. It should be called the Alex Smith family. That's exactly what we are, a family," Burrell said.
Salt Lake City skyline on Broncos blanket lights up internet
Along with this year’s Black Friday sales came a bit of a controversy over Salt Lake City and the Denver Broncos. Last week during the Thanksgiving holiday, screenshots began popping up on the internet of a Denver Broncos blanket for sale by the Home Shopping Network that displayed the Salt Lake City skyline, not the one in Denver.
The Salt Lake Temple, as well as other downtown buildings of Utah’s capital, are easily recognizable in the skyline on the blanket for sale at Home Shopping Network.
CBS affiliate 9 News in Denver did some digging and found that the Home Shopping Network wasn’t the only one selling a similar blanket created by The Northwest Company. According to News 9, Kohl’s and even the NFL’s official store, NFL Shop, were selling blankets that display the same skyline on a Broncos blanket.
As of Monday morning, blankets with the incorrect skyline have been pulled from the Home Shopping Network and NFL Shop websites, though it’s still available at the Kohl’s website.
Other linksAnd finally
Former Utah State linebacker Bobby Wagner has made a habit of creating game-changing plays throughout his NFL career. He did so again Sunday with an impressive interception that set up Seattle’s first touchdown against San Francisco in a 24-13 Seahawks win.
With the 49ers facing a second-and-21 inside their own 10, Wagner closed in on a C.J. Beathard pass and ripped it away from Trent Taylor while rolling over the back of the San Francisco receiver.
Two plays later, the Seahawks scored on a Russell Wilson touchdown run.
“Top five of all time,’’ Seattle defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson said of Wagner’s pick, according to the Seattle Times. “Of all time. The dude caught it and came in and took it from him at first. I thought it was a fumble at first. Then I looked up and said, ‘That’s an interception.’ ’’