Watt’s fundraiser for Har­vey caps out at $37.1 mil­lion

Tex­ans’ line­man had orig­i­nal $200G goal

The Buffalo News - - NFL SUNDAY -

Hous­ton Tex­ans All-Pro de­fen­sive end J.J. Watt’s on­line fundraiser to aid flood vic­tims of Hur­ri­cane Har­vey, which started with a goal of $200,000, closed out at more than $37 mil­lion.

Watt re­leased the fi­nal fig­ures, an­nounc­ing his Hous­ton Flood Re­lief Fund’s com­bined fundrais­ing ef­forts raised a to­tal of $37,132,057 and had 209,430 donors.

“There are not enough words to thank you all for your gen­eros­ity,” Watt said in a state­ment Fri­day. “If there is one thing that I have taken away from these last few weeks, it is the re­as­sur­ance of how much good is out there in our world. When times are the tough­est, hu­man­ity stands at its strong­est and you have all helped to prove that em­phat­i­cally.”

Watt started the re­lief ef­fort on Aug. 27 while Hous­ton was be­ing hit hard by the flood­ing with $100,000 of his own money. He had an ini­tial goal of $200,000, meet­ing that tar­get on YouCar­ing.com within two hours.

Watt posted videos through­out the process thank­ing donors and re­as­sur­ing them that the money would go di­rectly to­ward help­ing vic­tims rather than cov­er­ing ad­min­is­tra­tive costs.

Watt worked with his foun­da­tion to fill 12 semitrucks with sup­plies to aid vic­tims, and he and his team­mates helped with the dis­tri­bu­tion in the af­ter­math of the hur­ri­cane.

“There are many places you could have do­nated your hard-earned money and I’m hon­ored you have cho­sen to join this ef­fort to sup­port the peo­ple who were af­fected most by Hur­ri­cane Har­vey,” Watt said in the state­ment posted on his web­site. “Please keep this spirit of help­ing one another alive. The world is a bet­ter place when we all take care of each other.

New kick for Hekker

Johnny Hekker is punt­ing with a new deal, and a new spin.

The Los An­ge­les Rams punter, ranked first in the NFL in punt­ing yards the last two sea­sons, spent the last year per­fect­ing a tech­nique in­tro­duced to him by Aus­tralian Nick Poreb­ski, who punts for Hekkers’ alma mater, Ore­gon State.

“Nick said, ‘Check out this kick, mate,’ ” Hekker said. “And it was amaz­ing.”

Poreb­ski taught Hekker to hold the ball per­pen­dic­u­lar over his foot, in­stead of par­al­lel, to cre­ate a side­ways spin in the air.

“It’s re­ally ef­fec­tive, as far as be­ing able to kind of show you’re go­ing one way and then get­ting it to curve and go the other way,” Hekker said.

Hekker, a three-time Pro Bowl se­lec­tion, tested the tech­nique dur­ing the pre­sea­son be­fore he booted a 38-yard punt in the sea­son opener against the In­di­anapo­lis Colts. The punt went out of bounds at the Colts’ 7-yard line – and it also went vi­ral on Twit­ter.

“It was a fun one,” Hekker said, adding that he wouldn’t hes­i­tate to at­tempt the kick again if the sit­u­a­tion called for it.“Ial­so­like­to­just­boomit,hi­tit­the reg­u­lar way.”

The Rams signed Hekker to a twoyear con­tract ex­ten­sion through the 2022 sea­son.

“I didn’t know that we were close on get­ting more years added on to that deal,” Hekker said. “It was a deal where I was pa­tient with it, I was very happy with the sit­u­a­tion I was in, but to get the num­bers bumped up is great.”

Said coach Sean McVay: “He’s a spe­cial per­son, he’s a spe­cial player, he’s been very pro­duc­tive, an all-pro player the last cou­ple years and then what he brings to the locker room matches up with the pro­duc­tion you see on the field.”

Team­mates voted Hekker one of six team cap­tains this sea­son.

Last Sun­day, Hekker punted five times in a 46-9 vic­tory over the Colts. All of his punts were in­side the 20-yard line. The Rams host the Wash­ing­ton Red­skins to­day.

Prescott a cut above

It should be clear by now that Dak Prescott is more ad­vanced than the ma­jor­ity of young quar­ter­backs who have come be­fore him.

The lat­est ex­am­ple: He en­ters Sun­day’s game with Den­ver with only four in­ter­cep­tions in his first 498 at­tempts. Very quickly, pos­si­bly on the first pos­ses­sion, Prescott will be the first player in NFL his­tory to have five or fewer in­ter­cep­tions on his first 500 at­tempts.

“To me, it’s just num­bers,” Prescott said. “The mile­stone doesn’t mean any­thing. “As I said, my main fo­cus is tak­ing care of the ball, keep­ing the ball in our team’s hands. I mean, what­ever the stat is re­ally doesn’t mean any­thing. You’ve just got to go out there and take care of the ball week in and week out.”

The Cow­boys quar­ter­back be­gan his ca­reer at this time last year by throw­ing 176 passes be­fore he had one picked off. He had a stretch of 171 passes with­out an in­ter­cep­tion later in the sea­son.

Prescott hasn’t thrown an in­ter­cep­tion in a reg­u­lar sea­son game since Dec. 11.

“I think I pre­pare re­ally hard to do that, to know what the de­fense is go­ing to give me,” Prescott said. “I mea­sure out my risk and re­wards through­out prac­tice and know the throws I can make chances on in the game to try and elim­i­nate 50-50 in­ter­cep­tions and things like that.”

Again, the stat it­self doesn’t mean much to Prescott. What it rep­re­sents does. It’s a for­mula for win­ning.

“That’s what it means to me, that I’m play­ing win­ning foot­ball, I’m not turn­ing it over,” Prescott said. “Hav­ing the record doesn’t mean any­thing.

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