Bears Players Help With Tornado Recovery

On Sunday, Robbie Gould was kicking the Bears game-winning field goal in overtime to beat the Ravens.

On Monday, he was on the phone doing something more important -- help the victims of the Illinois tornado.

"It puts what we do on Sundays in perspective, to help a community rebuild itself."

Through his Golden Touch Foundation, Gould contacted Peapod, Joey Caputo's and Fantastic Lettering to donate water and clothing.

The Chicago Bears jumped on board to match the donations and provided a bus for Gould and teammates to drive the 84 miles to Coal City to help.

Upon arriving at the United Methodist Church, Gould along with teammates Zack Bowman, Sherrick McManis, Blake Costanzo and Bears alumni Anthony Adams, Rashied Davis and Tom Zbikowski, went to work unloading American Red Cross trucks filled with donations.

Many of the Bears players watched news coverage of the tornadoes on the Weather Channel during the nearly two hour delay in Sunday's game, including cornerback Zack Bowman.

"I heard about it in the locker room. Then, after the game, we saw pictures and stuff like that and that's when it hit home," Bowman said.

It's even closer to home for special teams ace Sherrick McManis, who hails from Peoria, close to where the tornadoes touched down.

"I was getting texts, and I heard something was going down near Peoria, my hometown, so I texted my family trying to see is everything's OK," McManus said. "It's something you can't control."

A point all too true for linebacker Blake Costanzo who's family in New Jersey was hit last year by Superstorm Sandy.

"Everyone's sticking together, and that's what being American and being people is all about," Costanzo said.

After unloading trucks at the church, the Bears players drove to the Diamond Estates subdivision where Bears fan Mark Bonarek showed Gould where he was sitting in his house watching the Bears game when the tornado hit, and how he ran for cover in the basement.

One block away, Mindy and Lenny Friddle's home was completely lost.

Across from the Friddle's backyard lives Ed and Peggy Hajduke, who happen to be Bears season ticket holders. Ed was at the game when his wife texted him that their house was hit. On Tuesday, the couple was able to meet Gould.

"By the time I got to the house, I was like, 'Man, I'm just glad nobody got hurt," Ed Hajduke said.

All Gould and his teammates were able to do was pass out hugs and sign remnants of what remained.

"To be able to help is ... amazing," Gould said. "Bear down."

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