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NFL Champs hit the diamond, Feb. 20

The world champion Saints are coming to Palm Beach County!

Reggie Bush, Pierre Thomas, Jonathan Vilma and Darren Sharper are among the Super Bowl champion New Orleans Saints who are expected to join teammate Heath Evans in the second annual NFL vs. SWAT Softball Showdown charity softball game on Saturday, February 20 at 6:30 p.m. at Roger Dean Stadium in Jupiter.

The game is open to the public. Admission is $20 for reserved seats and $10 for general admission seats. Tickets are available on TicketMaster.com and at the Roger Dean Stadium box office.

Expected to join the Saints contingent will be Randy Moss, Adalius Thomas and Ben Watson of the New England Patriots, as well as several NFL players with South Florida ties, such as Devin Hester (Chicago Bears), Abram Elam (Cleveland Browns), Brandon Flowers (Kansas City Chiefs) and Kelley Washington (Baltimore Ravens).

The softball game was the brainchild of Moss, according to Evans.
Proceeds from the game will benefit the not-for-profit 501(c)(3) Heath Evans Foundation, which is dedicated to fostering hope and healing in the lives of children and families affected by sexual abuse.

“We’re still celebrating winning the Super Bowl but I’m honored and proud that many of my teammates will participate in the softball game,” said Evans, the Saints starting fullback who suffered a season-ending knee injury in the Oct. 25 game against the Dolphins.

“It will be a fun game for the players and the fans and we’re raising money for a good cause, one that my wife, Beth Ann, and I strongly believe in.,” said Evans, who grew up in Palm Beach Gardens and graduated from The King’s Academy in 1997. “I’m hoping that we can hit the ball and run the bases better than last year.”

The NFL team rallied to beat the SWAT team 5-4 in front of 5,000 spectators in last year’s inaugural event.

Evans said this year’s event will feature an in-game raffle where prizes include winning the shirt off an NFL player’s back, and a home run derby.

Evans is very serious about the foundation that bears his name. Started in 2006 to help children who have been sexually abused, it’s something Evans learned about firsthand because his wife was a victim of sexual abuse as a child.

“Being in the NFL gives me a platform to bring attention to a cause that doesn’t receive a lot of attention,” said the 6-foot, 250-pound Evans. “When people hear about it and learn more about it, hopefully they become motivated to help sexually abused children and their families.”

One in four girls and one in six boys is sexually abused before the age of 18 in Palm Beach County, according to Evans. More than 75 percent of victims are abused by a family member or someone they know.      
     
Evans said the foundation provides access to a variety of programs, treatments and services in communities with great need and scarce resources.

“The softball game is another way to bring attention to this problem, and it’s a big fundraiser for us,” said Evans. “We’re excited about joining with the PBSO SWAT team to host a wonderful family event for the entire community. We want to make Palm Beach County the safest place for kids to grow up.”

Sponsors include Stifel Nicolaus, Cheney Brothers, Sign-a-Rama, United Franchise Group, Miken, Chick-fil-A, DEX Imaging, Park Avenue BBQ & Grille, Palm Beach County Sports Commission, JJ Muggs Stadium Grill, ESPN 760-AM and Rooney’s Public House.

For information on sponsorship opportunities, please contact Glenn Martin, President of the Heath Evans Foundation at (561) 282-6345 or by email at glenn.martin@heathevans.org.

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