Community Player of the Week: Joe Barksdale

Posted Dec 19, 2013

By Mary Beard
Special to

The St. Louis Rams Community Player of the Week is offensive tackle Joe Barksdale.

This weekend Joe was an integral part of the Rams’ victory over the New Orleans Saints at right tackle. But stepping up and creating a bigger role from himself isn’t something new to him. This season he’s made a name for himself just as much off the field for reaching out to the St. Louis community and affecting lives of those in need.

Earlier this month, Joe visited the Salvation Army St. Louis Adult Rehab Center to speak to the men and give them encouragement.  He took questions and spoke from the heart, sharing personal stories and life lessons in hopes of inspiring them to avoid addiction and continue to rebuild their lives.

Joe is also reaching out to a younger set of the community.  Building a relationship with the third graders of Townsend Elementary, he stopped by the school and spent time with the kids earlier this season and again this week. During his visits he reads to them and encourages them to work hard towards their goals and dreams.

Another major cause that Joe has lent his support to is the issue of hunger in the St. Louis region. Attending the Taste of the NFL, he mingled and met with guests helping raise money for the St. Louis Area Food Bank as well as the St. Louis Area Sports Commission. During the Thanksgiving holiday, he helped fund the purchase of 2,000 Thanksgiving meals for families in need and then joined his O-line teammates in handing out the meals through the Urban League Turkey Distribution.

For the second consecutive year, Joe also “adopted” a family for the holiday season. This year, Wish for Our Heroes, a national non-profit dedicated to assisting the men and women of the United States active-duty military, identified a military family experiencing hardship.

“Joe has really emerged this season as a strong presence both on and off the field for us,” said Molly Higgins, Rams’ vice president of corporate communications/civic affairs. “These off the field efforts have been initiated by him and his enthusiasm is fantastic. You can tell that he really appreciates the opportunity to give back to a wide variety of people. It’s great to see and we’re always proud to help make meaningful connections within the community.”

About the Rams Community Player of the Week
Each week during the 2013 season, the St. Louis Rams 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.