Locke to use Freeman's jersey money to upgrade VA Medical Center


It seems like a simple NFL transaction.

Viking rookie punter Jeff Locke, who wore No. 12 for Minnesota before the acquisition of Josh Freeman, receives $10,000 from Freeman for the number when he signs with Minnesota.

While that may seem like a lot of money for a simple jersey number, athletes see it differently, and some are willing to go to extreme lengths to make sure they keep the number that means so much to them.

For Freeman, No. 12 was what he wore in high school at Grandview in Missouri, and he chose to give Locke $10K for it rather than wear the No. 5 he donned while in Tampa Bay.

The story seemed minor and complete, until today.

Locke, who switched to No. 18 when Freeman bought 12, is using the money he received to give to the VA Medical Center in Minneapolis.

The sum will be used for improvements to a game room in the building located off Highway 62 near Fort Snelling.

Locke will make the pay-it-forward move official tomorrow on a trip to the VA Center, and he'll bring with him center Jon Sullivan, cornerback A.J. Jefferson, tight end Rhett Ellison, safety Brandon Bishop, and defensive end Justin Trattou.

This comes in the midst of the NFL's Salute to Service campaign, which culminated yesterday across the NFL with celebrations and thanks to those that have served and are currently serving in the armed forces.

But Locke's move isn't league mandated, required by the team, or part of a bigger cause.

It's just one he thought was right.

Next Up