Former Seattle Seahawk T.J. Duckett has waited two years to shave off his beard. And he’s doing it for charity.
Duckett, an American football running back, had been involved in philanthropic fundraising throughout his athletic career. However, when he was abruptly released from the Seattle Seahawks in 2009, he used the humbling experience to expand his efforts and focus on community outreach and giving back.
He started growing his current beard around 2009, the same year his career in professional football took an turn — he was waived from the Seattle Seahawk’s roster. He found himself rethinking his choices in life.
Duckett told HuffPost, “I lost a sense of who I was. But once I started to get rid of myself… I began to get a sense of self-worth. With football, and I think with any job, you get caught up in it and it starts to run your life — consumes it. When it was taken away from me, I had to think, ‘now what am I about?'”
He knew that he liked to help others. He’s no stranger to charity — after his mother died from Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma in 2000, he set up the TD Foundation to help women with cancer and their families.
He also had been participating in annual fundraising for St. Baldrick’s Foundation since 2005, growing out a beard and directing anyone who noticed to a donation fund. He grew a beard throughout each football season and then would shave it off at an event, donating the funds he accumulated for the charity.
Duckett realized that those moments of giving back were more important to him than his past occupations.