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Local Vets Play in Celebrity Flag Football Challenge

February 03, 2018 11:37 PM

(ABC 6 News) --  Their mission is to fight for our flag, but on Saturday, a handful of Minnesota veterans fought for a different flag.

The 18th annual Celebrity Sweat Flag Football Challenge was held at the HealthEast Indoor Feild in Woodbury.

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22 veterans and active duty personnel, including 4 from Olmsted County, played with current and retired NFL players, UFC fighters and even a Hall of Famer.

“It's just cool to have a huge mix of guys all coming together for one cause,” said De’Vondre Campbell with the Atlanta Falcons (Red Team).

Tony Heaser served in the US army from 1998 to 2004.The Byron veteran was most excited to go up against Michael Vick. “I was able to get out there and get a couple sacks against him.”

Rochester vet, Ryan McSweeny, thanked his lucky stars. “There were tons of veterans that could have come here. I'm fortunate to come here and be one of them.”

While the veterans were honored to be playing side-by-side with celebrities, the feeling was mutual. “These guys are the real heroes, you know?” said UFC Fighter, Kevin Lee (Red Team). “They are the real fighters … they say they look up to UFC fighters, but we really we look up to them.”

With the controversy surrounding some NFL members kneeling during the national anthem, this year’s game was a chance to create a bridge between the two parties. “We admire them, we honor them and we respect them,” said Retired NFLer, Michael Irvin (Blue Team).

Irvin believes when it comes to the debt we owe to our veterans … “We still fall way short,” he said.

All proceeds from the event will go towards Mission 22. “That works to educate about veteran suicide and works with prevention programs,” said Roger Berg, the State Leader of Mission 22.

In the end, Team Blue won 71-49. However, the real winners are those who rely on Mission 22 programs.

Blue Team:

Doug Flutie – Quarterback

Michael Irvin – Captain

Kevin Lee – UFC Fighter

Billy Blanks – Tae Bo Creator

Tye Smith – Titans

Andre Reed – Hall of Famer

Darius Butler – Colts

Tyreek Hill – Chiefs

Brandon Marshall – Broncos

Alec Penix – Celebrity Sweat Trainer

Red Team:

Michael Vick – Quarterback

Ron Jaworski- Captain

Cazzey Cereghino – Hollywood Stuntman

Anthony “Rumble” Johnson

Clay Guida – UFC Fighter

Chris Manhertz – Panthers

Mike Adams – Panthers

Eddie Pleasant – Texans

Or TJ Ward – Jaguars

Deion Jones – Falcons

De’Vondre Campbell – Falcons


Credits

Hannah Tiede

Copyright 2018 - KAAL-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company

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