3rd and Goal Foundation

Quinn seeks to help ease veterans' transition

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ED ZURGA/ASSOCIATED PRESS
Former Dublin Coffman standout Brady Quinn throws a pass as a member of the Kansas City Chiefs in 2012. Currently an NFL free agent, Quinn founded the 3rd and Goal Foundation four years ago to help veterans ease their transition back into civilian life.
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War terminology often is used to describe facets of the game of football, but Brady Quinn doesn't see the comparison.

As far as the former Dublin Coffman High School and University of Notre Dame standout quarterback is concerned, there are no parallels between football and war. The playing surface is not a "battlefield" and teams do not "wage war" against one another.

"I have done nothing (on a football field) like these veterans have done for us and our way of life in America," Quinn said in a phone interview from his home in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. "Whether they sacrificed their lives, their bodies or whatever, they are people who defended our country and I wanted to try to help those who defended us."

Because of his admiration for members of the U.S. Armed Forces, Quinn, who currently is an NFL free agent, founded the 3rd and Goal Foundation four years ago with the goal of helping veterans ease their transition back into civilian life.

"I give time and money to other charities, but this one is close to my heart because my dad (Ty) is a Vietnam (War) veteran," Quinn said. "In 2010, my dad and I came up with the idea to help veterans in a different way -- by helping them with the care that they need."

The 3rd and Goal Foundation mainly assists veterans living in the Columbus and South Bend, Ind., regions, but it is committed to serving as a model so that expansion can continue in other areas of the U.S. Among the foundation's missions are helping homeless veterans find "secure, safe, clean housing" and making "home improvements" for wounded veterans "to make their lives more comfortable."

"One of the biggest things we do involves home modifications for our wounded warriors," said Brian Veith, who played with Quinn at Notre Dame and serves as executive director and chief financial officer of the 3rd and Goal Foundation. "We don't focus on one branch of the military, but help all of them.

"We owe them so much as U.S. citizens and we help by modifying their homes to make their lives better. We don't give financial assistance. We pay for everything and work with the contractors to get it done. One byproduct that we have found is with the caregivers and easing their concerns and burdens. It is a unique, fulfilling experience, and the positive impact couldn't be better."

The 3rd and Goal Foundation will hold its fifth annual Blue Jacket Golf Outing on July 12 at Scioto Reserve Country Club in Powell. Despite the name, the event has no affiliation with Columbus' NHL franchise.

"It's called the Blue Jacket Golf Outing for several reasons, but mostly because we give a blue jacket to the winner, much like they give a green jacket in the Masters," Quinn said, referring to the PGA tournament held each April at Augusta National Golf Club in Georgia. "But it also comes from the North (soldiers) wearing blue jackets in the Civil War and the fact that Ohio gave more lives than any state in that war. Also, the blue jackets worn by the soldiers were manufactured in Columbus, so that's another tie in."

In addition to working with his foundation, Quinn is looking to secure an NFL contract for the coming season. Last year, he spent training camp with the Seattle Seahawks but was cut before the start of the regular season. He was picked up by the New York Jets, only to be released and later signed by St. Louis Rams.

Quinn did not see any playing time with the Jets or the Rams and his season ended prematurely when he underwent back surgery in November.

"I've been out for seven months and I feel better, but there have been a lot of tedious workouts to get back into playing shape," he said. "I've had a couple of teams call (during) my rehab, but I wasn't ready to go in for a physical.

"Now I'll probably have to wait until we get closer to training camp, and then it's a waiting game. It's bad because you're waiting for someone to get hurt or to not play well. I have to keep my options open."

Quinn was selected with the 22nd pick in the 2007 NFL draft by the Cleveland Browns. He spent three seasons with the Browns, making 12 starts, before being traded to Denver. After serving as a backup for the Broncos in 2010 and 2011, he signed with Kansas City in 2012, starting eight games for the Chiefs.

"You have to really live on a day-to-day basis in the NFL," said Quinn, who has completed 296 of 550 passes for 3,043 yards, 12 touchdowns and 17 interceptions in 24 career games. "You have to live in the moment and get the most out of it because so many things can change from week to week or game to game.

"This is so much of a business that you have to be able to look out for yourself and be accountable to yourself. Once you get through a couple of years, you see there is no parallel (to the NFL) in the game. It's drastically managed differently than any other level. You realize no one is looking out for you ... you're kind of out there on your own. You are kind of like the CEO of your own brand."

Uncertain about his future as a player, Quinn, 29, attended the NFL's Broadcast Boot Camp held June 16-19 in Mount Laurel, N.J.

"It is a chance to get a better understanding of what it means to be a TV or radio analyst," he said. "The average NFL career lasts three years, so not everyone is Peyton Manning or Tom Brady. This is just one of the avenues the NFL has created for us to help our transition (from the game)."

Quinn underwent another transition in his life in March when he married former U.S. Olympic gymnast Alicia Sacramone. The couple met in 2008 and got engaged last year.

"It hasn't been that much of a change because we had a long-distance relationship for a while," he said. "We wanted for her to conclude her career and for mine to get more stable, but I guess that didn't happen, so we decided to do it anyway.

"It's tough being at home working out when other (NFL) players are out there (getting ready for training) camp, but it's not the worst thing in the world to spend time with my wife. Right now, I'm looking to get back (on the field), but when that chapter's closed, I'll look to see what's best." Would one of Quinn's options be moving back to central Ohio and starting a coaching career?

"Anything is possible," he said. "I bought a place here (in Fort Lauderdale) five years ago because it was a hot, uncomfortable climate and that helps me get in shape and ready to play. I can work out here the entire winter and spring to get back in shape and ready to play. It's definitely a possibility that we could move back to Ohio. ... We'll have to wait and see what happens."

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