Walter Payton Man of the Year award
Special teams captain. Pro Bowler. Safety. Motivator.
Those are just a few of the terms that one could use to describe the San Diego Chargers jack-of-all-trades Darrell Stuckey.
Stuckey was a nominee for the Walter Payton Man of the Year award last year. The honor was a direct result of his volunteerism not only in San Diego but also in his hometown of Kansas City. In Kansas City he conducts football camps, community projects and works with a non-profit organization called “Not For Sale”. The mission of Not For Sale is to protect people and communities from human trafficking and modern-day slavery.
The 5-foot-11 1/2, 212-pounder has been with San Diego since he was drafted in the fourth round (#110) of the 2010 draft. The former University of Kansas Jayhawk logged 295 career tackles, second-most all time behind Leroy Irvin (the former Rams/Lions defensive back). He also had eight interceptions and eleven tackles for loss in his four-year career there.
At the NFL Combine he clocked the 40-yard dash at 4.49 seconds. He also made a 39.5-inch vertical jump. His height may have been a bit of a concern, but the guy is a ball hawk.
In 73 games, Stuckey has 41 tackles to his name. Besides that, there are five defended passes, two forced fumbles and a sack. He also has five fumble recoveries, of which the best-known came on December 7, 2014 when New England’s wideout Brandon LaFell was hit by Jahleel Addae. Stuckey scooped up the ball and took it 60 yards to the house. It was the longest fumble recovery in Bolts history.
It’s no wonder that his play in the 2014 campaign resulted in his being voted to his first Pro Bowl appearance. His selection was initially as first alternate, however, he ended up joining then teammate Eric Weddle in Hawaii when Patriots player Matthew Slater had to bow out because New England was headed to the Super Bowl.
Those are all wonderful things to be able to be known for long after his football career is over. What seems to give Stuckey the most satisfaction in life is what he does off the field of play.
Being one of the most active Chargers players in the San Diego community is just a small part of who Darrell Stuckey is. He is a participant in the team’s annual “Community Corner” program, which purchases game tickets for charity. Additionally, he is involved with “Athletes for Charity”, a non-profit organization that is dedicated towards improving the lives of disadvantaged and underprivileged youth. In his hometown of Kansas City, he also dedicates his time to the Youth City Network and the KC United Dotte Football Camp.
Let me add just one more charity: Living4One. This organization was founded by Darrell and his wife, Lacie, in 2012. One of the reasons they created it is to assist individuals in recognizing that we each have a purpose in life and it is not solely our day-to-day existence.
To quote Stuckey from the Living4One webpage, their purpose is this: “We must discover our gifts and talents, perfect them, and incorporate them into the master plan. We all have a purpose to fulfill. Our purpose influences the people we are around in our workplace, team, family and community. We must use our gifts to better the world we live in. There is no greater joy than a purpose fulfilled.”
Stuckey is quite obviously a man who leads by example, whether on the field or in the community. His unpretentiousness and willingness to provide support for others in some of life’s most unfair and desperate times is refreshing.
Darrell Stuckey would certainly have my vote if fans could somehow publicly recognize his efforts once his playing days are over.
Take a bow, sir. You are a bright light in a sometimes unfair and discouraging world and I thank you for your selflessness.
Thanks for reading.