PHILADELPHIA - The room was filled with loud applause and cheers as Philadelphia Eagles defensive end Chris Long was introduced to students at Mariana Bracetti Academy Charter School in the Frankford section of Philadelphia.
The Eagles are currently 5-1 and Long has two sacks in six games this season, but it isn't what Long is doing on the field that garnered him such a gracious welcome Wednesday.
The 32-year-old son of football great Howie Long is playing his first season as an Eagle, and he is playing the entire season for charity.
Long has pledged to donate his 10 game checks this season to support educational equity in Philadelphia, Boston and St. Louis, the three markets that he played in during his 10-year career.
"I feel good about it," said Long. "I feel good that we're spreading positivity and that I'm using my platform sufficiently"
Through his foundation, Long chose Summer Search, a national youth organization, because they increase the number of low-income students successfully entering and completing their college education.
Nicole Woodie runs the Pledge 10 for Tomorrow foundation.
"Chris is doing this to hopefully inspire other people also get involved," said Woodie. "Our goal is that this contribution will be matched by fans, individuals, players other people with platforms, businesses."
The Summer Search Philadelphia community could not be more thrilled.
"If there is any cloud higher than cloud 9, that's where I am," said Sylvia Watts McKinney, Executive director of Summer Search Philadelphia.
Long's donation is even inspiring the students.
"I don't know how many football players just come out of anywhere and say, 'I'm not even going to take the money the NFL is giving me, I'm going give back to my community," said Senior Tamara Hightower. "It's amazing."
On the walls of the school is a quote from baseball legend Roberto Clemente: "Anytime you have an opportunity to make a difference in the world and you don't, then you are wasting your time on earth."
Chris Long is echoing that statement.
"If I played in the NFL for 10 years and didn't do anything off the field, didn't help anybody, if I had this platform and didn't use it, I would feel like I wasted it," said Long.
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