Former Packer Freeman Spends Time With Troops

It’s easy to start a conversations with Green Bay Packers Hall-of-Famer Antonio Freeman if you’re talking about football. But what really brings a smile to his face is what he’s what he’s done off the field after his NFL career ended.

Through the USO, Freeman has been in a war zone twice in the last few years. His most recent trip was last Christmas, when he played a game unlike one he had ever been a part of before.

“We played a flag football game with some of the troops,” Freeman said. “We collaborated teams with half professional, former football players and military personnel.”

Former gridiron greats like Thurman Thomas, Jim Kelley and Ron Dayne all joined Freeman in the middle to the war zone to play football.

“My brother, Clarence, he spent 20 years in the U.S. Marines,” Freeman said. “He was deployed to Iraq, deployed to Afghanistan, and I just wanted to see and feel some of the things that our troops go through. For me to visit on their turf, see their operations, see how their day to day business goes about; it was a touching, touching experience for me.”

When Freeman isn’t playing flag football in the middle of a desert, he’s meeting with fans, like at an autograph session in Madison Thursday night, where fans were asked to bring canned foods in exchange for pictures and his signature. He’s promoting a charity near to his heart: Buckets for Hunger, based in Oregon.

Freeman said whether it’s helping needy families here in our area or spending time with troops thousands of miles away from their families, he feels blessed to be able to give back.

“That, for me, is a win-win situation,” Freeman said.

For more information about Buckets for Hunger, go to

Freeman is also involved in his own non-profit, the B’MoreFree Foundation, helping kids with financial literacy. It’s based in Baltimore, Freeman’s hometown, where he now does TV work for the Baltimore Ravens.

For more information about his foundation, go to