Considering the immense financial security that comes with an NFL roster spot, it’s safe to say most players never consider the prospect of going homeless. That is, unless you’re St. Louis Rams defensive ends Chris Long and William Hayes, who now know what it’s like to live on the streets.
In order to raise awareness and understand the struggles that homeless people face, Long and Hayes went undercover, posing as homeless men in St. Louis with nothing but the clothes on their backs and $8 in their pockets.
Awareness can't fix everything, and just 2 days and a night on the street didn't give us any answers. It did however give us perspective.—
Chris Long (@JOEL9ONE) May 31, 2015
The discussion of going homeless for a night was initiated by Hayes on the Rams’ team bus, and Long immediately loved the idea.
“William Hayes has been an unbelievable presence in our community, and the cause that he’s really given most of his time to is homelessness,” Long said on Twitter following ESPN’s release of a feature documenting the players’ journey.
During their stint on the streets, Long and Hayes experienced some of the daily issues many homeless people encounter, such as staying warm through a 38-degree night, and gained a unique perspective into the often overlooked human aspects of a homeless lifestyle.
“I think raising awareness is important on a lot of levels, but the thing I took away was the human element of the problem,” Long said on Twitter.
Long and Hayes, along with other defensive teammates, raised over $150,000 for the St. Patrick’s Center, a St. Louis-area homeless shelter for children, and continue to actively participate with the members.
While Long and Hayes don’t need to worry about being homeless any time soon, their efforts to raise awareness for the cause are extraordinarily commendable.
Thumbnail photo via twitter/@Thedailyshare