Though there has been a little souring on the Bengals with two consecutive primetime losses, but a string of good news has been hitting the team this week. And, no we're not talking about the collective health of the team as they get set to face the St. Louis Rams, though that is always welcomed news.
Defensive end Carlos Dunlap is on pace to have his most productive year on the field in his sixth year as a pro, but he's getting attention for other reasons than his 8.5 quarterback sacks. After joining the Bengals in the second round of 2010, Dunlap formed his own foundation in an effort to give back to the community. After signing a mega-extension in the offseason of 2013, Dunlap has ramped up his charitable endeavors since.
The NFL Player's Association has taken notice, as this week, they named Dunlap their "Community MVP for Week 12". This weekly award honors and NFL player who does significant work both in-season and year-round. Dunlap got the award this week for his Thanksgiving turkey giveaway to families in the local community.
This Thanksgiving, thousands of families across the nation were able to share a holiday meal because of the generosity of NFL players. Fifty of those benefitting were at the Boys & Girls Club in Avondale, Ohio as Cincinnati Bengal Carlos Dunlap and his foundation handed out turkeys to those in need.
Thanks to a partnership with TBS Meats, the Carlos Dunlap Foundation set up shop on November 24 and spread cheer to local families.
As part of the experience, Dunlap said he had a chance to ask attending youth what they were thankful for.
"Hearing their answers and seeing the joy on their faces was the most memorable part of the event," Dunlap said. "It’s such a humbling experience."
It was an especially fun event, Dunlap said, because his own Thanksgiving was a low-key day this year. The Bengals will host the Rams on Sunday, and his family isn’t scheduled to be in town until after the holiday.
"I’m going to work in the morning, then eat, then probably take a nap, then eat again somewhere else," Dunlap said with a smile.
The NFLPA also took note of Dunlap's other recent work, including a birthday party for foster children at GameWorks, as well as a spa day for breast cancer survivors and those fighting the illness back in October--the designated month to bring awareness to the disease.
Not only is this a great honor for Dunlap and his foundation, but it brings more positive attention to a team that was a national punchline for miscreants less than a decade ago. Earlier this week, linebacker Vincent Rey was announced as a nominee for the Art Rooney Sportsmanship Award, while defensive lineman Wallace GIlberry surprised a family of seven at a local Target store to buy them video games and other goodies for the holidays; Gilberry also participated in a turkey drive this week.