The St. Louis Rams Community Player of the Week presented by Ameren Missouri is defensive end
After spending the first four seasons of his career with the Tennessee Titans, Hayes joined the Rams this past offseason. Hayes jumped at the opportunity to join Jeff Fisher, his former head coach, in St. Louis, and the Rams were happy to catch him. In his first season with the team, Hayes has not disappointed. He has been a welcome addition to the defensive line, registering 21 tackles along with two-and-a-half sacks – including a 10-yard sack of Arizona Cardinals quarterback Ryan Lindley in Sunday’s 31-17 victory.
The Rams signed Hayes to help the defense, but his assistance to St. Louis has gone much deeper. He has brought a passion for helping others in the community, an enthusiasm that has been on display during the holiday season.
In preparation for Thanksgiving, Hayes rounded up his fellow defensive linemen to help out with the team’s turkey distribution drive. He encouraged his fellow D-linemen to raise money for the Urban League, an effort that contributed to the team’s $34,000 overall donation that provided turkeys and other Thanksgiving items to needy families. But Hayes and Co. took it upon themselves to make the experience a little more meaningful. On Tuesday afternoon, they boarded a shuttle and traveled to neighborhoods in the Jennings area to distribute the Thanksgiving items.
Throughout the day, members from the Rams organization distributed turkeys and other items at three Urban League centers. But the organization identified close to 30 households in the community that could not make it to one of the distribution centers either due to age or illness. It was these families that Hayes and the other defensive linemen visited in the afternoon. While bringing them the items for a Thanksgiving dinner, the group took time to meet with the families, often stepping inside for a quick interaction or photo. Through the home delivery efforts, in addition to those from the stationary locations, the Rams handed out nearly 2,000 turkeys to those in need.
The project was such a success that Hayes plans to expand it to spread the holiday spirit to families and kids who otherwise might not have a Christmas. Nothing brings holiday cheer to those in need like a 6-foot-three, 272 pound defensive end dressed as Santa Claus. It is a role that Hayes is looking forward to, and a program he is proud to lead.
In addition to his holiday efforts, Hayes is also a member of the Rams’ All-Community Team. For each Rams home game, Hayes purchases 20 tickets and gives them to people who would not otherwise be able to attend a game.
Hayes is cognizant of his role as a professional athlete and uses that to help those in need. In his brief time in the Gateway City, Hayes has already made a profound impact on many in the community, and hopes to help many more.
“William has emerged as a community star for us, bringing new ideas and fresh perspective on how to assist this community,” said Molly Higgins, vice president of corporate communications/civic affairs, St. Louis Rams. “Our community outreach team appreciates his enthusiasm and eagerness to help those less fortunate. Because of his leadership, we have had the opportunity to expand on existing partnerships and develop new relationships to address the needs of St. Louis. He’s been a tremendous addition to the Rams and we look forward to working with him on more projects moving forward.”
About the Rams Community Player of the Week presented by Ameren Missouri
Each week during the 2012 season, the St. Louis Rams, along with team sponsor Ameren Missouri, will select a player who has made a positive impact on the Greater St. Louis community, giving of himself off the field. Each honored Rams Community Player of the Week will receive a gift certificate to Ruth’s Chris Steak House, the Official Steak House of the St. Louis Rams.
Tell us how you power positive change in the community for the chance to win Rams tickets and official merchandise, by going to www.Facebook.com/AmerenMissouri.