Browns linebacker D’Qwell Jackson will join the NFL-USO tour along with five other NFL players, spending a week visiting U.S. troops at military bases throughout the Middle East, the league announced today.
Browns players have participated in the tour before. Center Alex Mack made the trip last year and left tackle Joe Thomas did the same in 2010.
"It's an honor to be a part of this USO tour," Jackson said in a statement. "I think it's a great experience and an opportunity to speak first-hand and show our gratitude to our military. What they do for our country is something special, and words can't express the appreciation that we have for the job that they do."
Denver Broncos cornerback Champ Bailey, Tampa Bay Buccaneers guard David Joseph, Broncos linebacker Von Miller, Carolina Panthers wide receiver Steve Smith and Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt will make the trip with Jackson.
Jackson has been active in the community locally, nationally and globally throughout his seven-year NFL career. He has been on mission trips to Sierra Leone in Africa and lent his support to Team Gleason, led by former New Orleans Saints player Steve Gleason, to raise awareness for Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS).
Jackson founded the “Real Hope, Real Dreams” season ticket program, which provides tickets, apparel and food at Browns games for the East Cleveland Neighborhood Center. He also led his teammates in sponsoring the team’s Holiday Extravaganza, which surprised 100 children from Cleveland’s recreation centers with gifts.
The NFL and USO have organized overseas morale-building visits for more than 45 years. In 1966, the NFL partnered with the USO and became the first sports organization to send a group of players to Vietnam and other parts of Asia to demonstrate the league’s support for America’s troops.