When Zac Taylor took over the Cincinnati Bengals’ head coaching gig, he impressed the importance of character on his football team. The message has largely been visible with Josh Bynes recently being nominated for the Art Rooney Sportsmanship award and defensive lineman Sam Hubbard engaging in huge community endeavors since the start of the 2020 season.
For the second time this season, Hubbard teamed up with Pepsi to help out the Cincinnati area. When we last caught up with him, Hubbard was working with the soft drink manufacturer on the Who Dey Fan-Dorsement Deal.
For the holiday season, Hubbard and Pepsi are once again working together to help the Free Store Food Bank. Aside from naming the winner of the Fan-Dorsement Deal (congratulations to our good friend, “The Bengalorian”), the duo is making a donation equivalent to approximately 36,000 meals to help out the needy at the end of the year.
John Sheeran and I recently caught up with Hubbard to talk about this endeavor, the 2020 season, his injury and much more.
One of the questions we asked was in the perceived expansion of his role on defense—particularly since his return after suffering an elbow injury.
“Yeah, so I went down in Week 5 with the elbow, tore a bunch of stuff—it took me a month to get it back strong,” Hubbard told us about his setback this season. “You know, whatever the coaches ask me to do, I do it. I consider myself very versatile...I have pretty good awareness—I feel like they trust me in whatever way I can help the team. I do whatever is asked of me to the best of my ability and my confidence grows, as I’m asked to do different things.”
Sheeran followed up with a question on his recovery process akin to Tyler Eifert’s elbow dislocation a few years back. Hubbard recalled that gruesome injury and noted that his wasn’t as severe as the one that prematurely ended Eifert’s promising 2014 campaign. Hubbard called Eifert’s past ailment “pretty gnarly.”
“It’s a different injury for everybody,” Hubbard said of elbow dislocations. “There was no broken bones, I tore some ligaments. Really, with the brace I wear, it’s about stability and getting the strength back. I think Eifert had completely torn ligaments and needed surgery and stuff—that’s why he was out for the whole year.”
We also asked Hubbard about Joe Burrow’s spirits in his own respective recovery process from a gruesome knee injury he suffered a few weeks ago. Hubbard and Burrow are close friends, dating all the way back to their Ohio State Buckeye days.
“We talk pretty regularly—he’s out in California, obviously since his procedure,” Hubbard said. “He’s (Burrow) kind of at the stage where he’s laid up, and he’s just recovering. It was tough for the season went that went on...His spirits are up, though. He’s in contact with the guys, asking them what’s going on and staying as engaged as possible until he can fully return to the team.”
The conversation continued into Hubbard’s charitable endeavor with Pepsi to benefit the Free Store Food Bank. In our conversation, we were also joined by Kurt Reiber from the Foodbank and he noted the impact of the donation both parties were making.
November and December are always two of the more needy months, in terms of required help, for the Free Store Food Bank and Reiber was extremely grateful for their generosity. The Covid crisis is causing an increase of need for meals for families this year. More folks are unfortunately out of work, so the need for general assistance is high.
Hubbard noted that the pandemic and need for family meals was why they identified the Free Store Food Bank as a nonprofit they wanted to assist. If you’re in the Greater Cincinnati area, the Free Store Food Bank could use your help, too! It’s been a hard year for nonprofit organizations as well, so please help if you are able.
You can visit www.freestorefoodbank.org to see how you can get involved. Our thanks to Sam Hubbard and Pepsi for the opportunity to chat, as well as to Kurt Reiber from the Freestore Foodbank to hear about the great work they are doing for the community!