CINCINNATI -- Bengals punter Kevin Huber could have spent Tuesday brooding over the team's Monday night loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers. Instead, he and his teammates chose to focus on the Greater Cincinnati community by purchasing Christmas gifts for families who don't make NFL salaries.
"It's neat to be able to help people out where I grew up and put some smiles on people's faces," Huber said.
The team has partnered with local charity St. Vincent de Paul for 12 years to help low-income families in Cincinnati have a Christmas as merry as anyone else's.
"It's a relief," Priscilla Ross, a mother of four, said. "You worry, you know, ‘Oh may god, what am I going to get them?' You see all the other friends getting stuff, but you're just like, ‘I don't have it to give.'"
The Bengals-St. Vincent de Paul partnership asks families to apply during the year for a chance to participate. Children who are selected get to shop for up to $300 in presents with their favorite player. According to community relations director Larry Shields, it also allows them to learn about the value of giving.
"Each person is asked to buy a Christmas present for another person who they know," he said. "They'll know that it's a special Christmas. They'll have something under the tree on Christmas Day, and they're making it special for someone else as well."
At the end of the day, Monday's score didn't matter to Huber at all.
"I never thought I'd be able to do this," he said. "Hopefully I can do it for years to come."