7 on Your Sideline: Northwestern's Al Netter

November 27, 2011 (EVANSTON, Ill.)

When most college kids go on spring break they head some place where there is a beach, sun and fun, Netter chose to do something different.

"I've been on a few spring break trips here over the past years -- the Bahamas trips, the Mexico trips -- those trips are always fun, you really enjoy yourself, but you never really remember what you did on your trip. It's not really memorable," Netter said. "So, a few spring breaks ago I was able to go to Guatemala on a service trip and able to go to an orphanage and help out at the orphanage and do a lot of great things for 7 or 8 days."

One of those "great things" he did was hand scoop and carry 70 pounds of manure for 30 minutes a day while he was at the orphanage to help grow trees so that kids could eat fruit from them. While the work was difficult, he knew that these kids needed him.

"Just to see these kids, how simple their lives were and how such little things can make them so happy. When it was recess, for example, or throughout the day, just to be able to kick a soccer ball around and how fun just lit up their day, just really made me think about how special I have it here as a Division I football player at Northwestern University, just so special -- just made me change my work ethic. Made me want to work harder at everything that I do," Netter said.

Senior Day for Northwestern was a final chance for California native Netter to play in front of the Wildcats faithful in Evanston. He walked on Ryan Field for the last time with the people who have made him who he is. He's a NFL-caliber player, but more importantly, an all-star human being. A student-athlete who does everything from reading to kids to sending care packages to our troops overseas.

"My mom, my dad, my grandma -- they're the ones that raised me and really instilled in me that it's more important to help others than to look out for yourself," Netter said. "Good things are going to happen to good people and I truly believed that my whole life and it carried with me throughout my childhood and high school and college."

"Think about how talented he is -- great student, All Big 10 level football player, gonna play on Sunday, captain. A lot of things going for him, but he doesn't lose sight of what's important and that's helping our human race. Wow, what a special young man, said Netter's Coach Pat Fizgerald.

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