The Washington Football Team has found their new left tackle in Charles Leno Jr., and he's served his two quarterbacks well through the first three weeks of the regular season. Leno does more than just keep Taylor Heinicke upright in Washington, he also makes it a point to support the community.
The former Chicago Bear is known for his charitable contributions to the community. In January, the NFLPA even recognized him with the Week 16 Community MVP Award for his "Leno Claus" project. While he's wearing a different uniform this year and playing in a new city, supporting his community is still something Leno holds in high regard.
"Yeah it's something I'm very passionate about, something I love to do," Leno told CBS Sports. "When I got to the league, I was told to always pay it forward."
Leno is also the co-founder of the "Beyond the Entertainer" organization, which is dedicated to showing kids there's more to being an athlete than just on-field performance. As Leno explained, there's so much that goes into the entertainment business.
"The goal of our organization, it comes down to me being from Oakland, California," said Leno. "I know being out there, a lot of black and brown kids, we feel like the only way out of the situation and environments that we are in is through entertainment. Whether that's being an athlete, being a musician -- whatever type of entertainment, they see that the most. But we want to shed some light on this part 'beyond the entertainer.' So for example, for myself, me being an athlete, there are so many things that make up an athlete. You can be in public relations, athletic training, coaching, GM, financial advising, agent -- there are so many things that make up an athlete. So if you want to be a part of that, you can still have that access to the athlete or the entertainment aspect. You know the chances of you making it professionally honestly are very slim, but there's always opportunities to be around it and if you're really passionate about it, still be involved."
Leno also holds events at local schools. Most recently, he showed up to Alice Deal Middle School in Washington D.C. to speak to the kids and donate board games for National Family Game Night.
"It was a fun event," said Leno. "I went to a local middle school here in the D.C. area and the day we went was National Family Game Night, and me, my wife and our organization purchased about 200 board games: Monopoly, Trouble, Hangman, Candy Land, and we gave them out to kids. We just wanted to have a fun time but then understand, 'I know you guys are in school, but it's national game night. Go out and have fun with your family because family is important.' I value family tremendously and having fun with your family and having those different kind of game nights is something I really enjoy."
Leno plans on holding several other outings in the future, such as a Halloween event and a game watch party that is still in the works. While he's played just three games for Washington, Leno certainly has made an impact on the city.
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