Eric Kendricks held up a giant check and ran through the gymnasium at Westview Elementary School in Apple Valley.
The Minnesota Vikings’ linebacker was on hand to present a $20,000 check to The Sheridan Story for its weekend food programs that operate at more than 140 schools across the Twin Cities. The money was raised in a campaign led by Kendricks in which fans pledged money for each Vikings sack.
“I’m a kid who doesn’t come from much and I understand that I needed help with situations when I was a child,” Kendricks said. “It takes a village to raise a child and I understand that aspect, so I want to do what I can to help and if that means using my stardom as far as playing for the Vikings, then that’s what I’m going to do.”
Eric’s brother Mychal, a linebacker for the Philadelphia Eagles, was also in attendance. He was in town to visit his younger sibling’s new city and see the Twin Cities’ best fishing holes. Mychal didn’t expect to be handed a microphone to speak to around 100 children, but he was happy to be a part of Eric’s community effort.
“I’m proud of you stepping up to the plate and doing your diligence in the community, man,” Mychal said, grabbing Eric by the shoulder.
Mychal, who is 17 months older than Eric, takes pride in his involvement with charitable events in Philadelphia. He and former Eagles running back LeSean McCoy hosted a golf tournament together and he has made appearances at events to raise money for childhood cancer.
“We shared a room for 17 years, but since we’ve been separated since college, I’ve seen him mature as a man,” Mychal said of his brother. “He’s very responsible, very true to his craft.
“As an older brother, you blaze a trail…but there are times where I still learn from Eric. We learn from each other, we bounce [things] off of each other.”
Mychal sees community efforts as part of the maturation process of a professional athlete.
“Once you establish yourself as a player and you get your feet under you, it’s time to tap into the community and make a difference,” he said. “There are so many people that look up to him because of who he is and the position that he’s in. He has a huge platform and it’s a responsibility and he’s taking advantage of it.”
Eric joked with Mychal, telling him, “No football questions,” as the two talked with a handful of Twin Cities media, but the older brother said he’s not surprised that Eric has become a key part of the Vikings’ defense.