Former Texas Longhorns safety, 2005 First Team All-American and Jim Thorpe Award winner Michael Huff showed up when his home state of Texas was in the direct of needs last week.
Huff did so by purchasing meals for those in need.
“If you’re in Austin and need a hot meal and can safely make it to [the Mexican restaurant Juan in a Million], I’ve paid for 1,000 tacos in advance,” Huff wrote on his personal Twitter account last Thursday. “Let’s feed as many people as we can and only take what you need.”
This past weekend, Huff also purchased 300 BBQ sandwiches from Pinkerton’s to help feed some of the folks of San Antonio, as well as Dallas, Fort Worth, Austin and his hometown Irving.
Huff sat down with a few reporters earlier this week to chat about his recent food security work. Here are some of the conversation’s highlights between reporters and Huff, who’s currently working as an assistant of player development under Steve Sarkisian at Texas.
Huff on why he felt the need to get out there and contribute:
“Really it was just sitting down and talking with the wife,” Huff said. “I’m a Texas boy, born and raised in Irving, and after that I went to UT Austin, went to California to play for the Raiders, and came back to Texas. But Texas will always be my home and I said if I can do anything to give back, that’s what I’m willing to do.”
Huff on the emotional response he’s felt after seeing families in need:
“It was a family in East Austin and they hadn’t had power or water for, I think he said, five days,” Huff said. “Honestly, like a lot of people out there. It was a dad, a mom, and they had two daughters, and the two daughters were eight and four, just like my little girls, so I kind of put myself in his shoes: How can I help this family? I couldn’t help turn on the water. I couldn’t turn on the power. Things like that. But they live right around the corner from Juan in a Million, so okay, they can walk safely, have a taco, have two, have three, or four. That was kind of the story that kind of started for me.”
Huff on Texas women’s basketball star Charli Collier’s effort to help folks out as a student:
“I feel like that was huge,” Huff said. “I feel like that has more of an impact than what I’m doing now, where she’s in college trying to get her degree, trying to play ball and be successful, and figure out where her path is gonna be in life. At this point, my path has kind of been written––I know where I’m at, I know what I’ve done. For her to be that young and doing all of this, while still going through everything I went through in life, my hat’s off to her. If she needs any help then she knows where to call me and we can figure something out.”
Huff on his message to young players currently on Texas football’s roster:
“Open your eyes. Life’s bigger than football, because I know with us we’re in that moment,” Huff said. “So it’s like football, football, football, football. That’s all we know. But then you see tragedy like this happening and it just opens up your eyes that a lot of people are going through hard things. No matter what we did in the 6am workout, it doesn’t compare to what people are going through with no power, no lights, no water. Football is gonna end at some point for everybody. I played eight years in the NFL and I ended at 30, and it’s like okay what do I do next? Football’s a good platform, but it’s not going to last you forever, so you have to figure out your niche and how you can help communities, help people, and figure out what you’re gonna do next.”
Huff on what it took for him to be able to give back to communities in this way:
“I think that’s a testament to everybody at University of Texas. When I was there for those five years, that kind of taught me that the NFL is not gonna last forever,” Huff said. “I went in the first round. I got my one contract. But that contract is not gonna last you the rest of your life, so for me, I didn’t spend any money, I didn’t do anything. I wanted to get to the second deal. I didn’t buy my first expensive car until I got my second contract. My first contract, I just stayed in a condo and I had a $20,000 Lincoln truck. So, that’s what they don’t see. I didn’t spend any money in my first contract, and that helped me live kind of the way I am now, to be able to give back and take of my money financially and things like that. That’s my thing, just being smart with your money early on so when you’re 30, 40, 50, 60 and have a family, you’re not living check to check and can still help out with the community, and that kind of respects.”