Eagles' Hall has head shaved for injured vets
BETHLEHEM, Pa. -- Chad Hall ran onto the field for practice with a shaggy mane of hair and ran off the field after practice with a shaved head.
Hall, the Eagles’ third-year receiver and returner and a product of the Air Force Academy, had his head shaved after practice Wednesday by an assortment of Army, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard and Marine soldiers who were guests of the Eagles as part of the annual Military Day.
Hall got the buzz cut to raise money for the Wounded Warriors Project, which provides financial support for veterans injured in battle who are now back home and need help paying medical bills for their injuries.
It’s the same charity another Chad from the Eagles -- Chad Lewis -- raised money for last year by successfully climbing Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania with several Wounded Warriors.
Many of Hall’s teammates sponsored a “swipe,” so each swipe with the razor raised more money for a great cause.
Fans can also donate by going to WoundedWarriorProject.org or calling 855-Give-WWP.
“I’m just trying to really take our minds off us and really appreciate these guys and what they do,” Hall said. “They’re over fighting for our freedom every day. We’re fighting on the field, but it’s so miniscule to what they really do. We’re just trying to gather a bunch of money today and give back to the Wounded Warriors.”
The original plan was for the soldiers gathered at the Lehigh practice fields to use scissors to give Hall his haircut.
That was quickly scuttled.
“I don’t trust some of those Navy and Army guys,” he joked. “So I’m just shaving it.”
Hall was the only military academy product in the NFL last year. In two NFL seasons, he has 14 catches for 135 yards and two TDs along with a handful of carries, punt returns and kick returns.
After he graduated from Air Force, Hall fulfilled his military obligation by leading a group of more than 200 soldiers who repaired Black Widow and F-16 fighter jets at Hill Air Force Base in Salt Lake City, Utah.
“Fighter jets, a very complicated system, a lot going on,” he said. “It was tough, a tough role. They threw me in there and I'm in charge of 200 people right off the bat, day one. I learned a lot. I think about those guys every day and still talk to a bunch of them. I've still got some troops overseas that I talk to and e-mail with. It helped me grow up as a person.”
After two years of fixing airplanes, Hall joined the Eagles in 2010 and beat the odds by making the team.
It’s very tough for players from military academies to survive in the NFL. Hall is only the 14th Air Force product to play in the NFL. Army has produced several dozen but only three since 1960, Navy nine since 1960.
“It’s tough,” Hall said. “You have to fulfill your military obligation first, so you’re away from the game a couple years, you’ve got to stay motivated, stay in shape, get an opportunity and make the most of it.”
Hall has made the most of his opportunity. He’s one of those guys nobody ever really expects to make the team, but there he is on the roster, two years in a row.
“That role has been happening my whole life,” he said. “That's nothing new to me. I know I have to prove myself every time I come out here.
“But its good because I think the one thing that kills an athlete is complacency. I never have that. I always know I have to earn my spot. I always know that I have to be the best I can be every day, just to help this team win. I think it makes me a better player and makes this team better.”
And that’s true whether he’s shaggy or bald.E-mail Reuben Frank at email@example.com