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All Pro Dad event a big success


On Father's Day weekend, Houston Texans players and coaches spent time with approximately 1,000 fathers and kids to educate fathers on the best ways to become an "All Pro Dad."

Hosted by Texans special teams coordinator and All Pro Dad spokesman Joe Marciano, the All Pro Dad Father & Kids Experience at the Methodist Training Center indoor facility made its first-ever stop in Houston.

The **All Pro Dad program**, which provides a "Play of the Day" e-mail with unique fatherhood tips, has been very beneficial to Marciano in raising his eight-year-old son, Joseph, who battles autism. Marciano spoke to the audience about the importance of instilling a winning attitude in one's family.

"We didn't choose a lot of things in our life: the color of our skin, what we look like, who our parents are," Marciano said. "But as a parent, as a child, you can choose an attitude- a winning attitude, a responsive attitude."

All Pro Dad is the fatherhood program of Family First, a non-profit initiative that Indianapolis Colts coach Tony Dungy helped launch 11 years ago while he was with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. At the time, Marciano was Tampa's special teams coordinator and developed a keen interest in All Pro Dad.

George Woods, marketing director for All Pro Dad, was then the Bucs' marketing director. He was thrilled to have his former colleague Marciano's support in bringing the event to Houston for the first time.

{QUOTE}"Joe's a bundle of energy," Woods said. "He got exposed to the All Pro Dad program while I was with the Bucs also, and we both fell in love with the program. Now, I'm working for them and Joe's out here helping us bring the program to Houston, so it's kind of neat."

The event began with speeches to the crowd by Texans fathers André Davis, Scott Jackson, Kris Brown, Mark Bruener and Jeff Zgonina, all who talked about the importance of fatherhood. Fathers then participated in special activities with their kids while rotating through football-themed learning stations on the field in the indoor practice facility.

"The purpose of the event is to get the dads better connected to their kids, and it's hard not to do that when you're out on an NFL practice field doing things like they're doing today: running, laughing, having fun," Woods said. "They just walk away focused on their most important job, and that's being a dad."

Brown, the Texans' kicker, told the crowd that he became a better football player the day he became a dad.

"It just puts things into perspective for me," Brown said. "Before I had children, I would go to practice every day and put so much pressure on myself to have a good practice. I still do that; obviously, I want to go out and play well. But I think really the most important thing is when I come home and I'm able to leave whatever happened on the field on the field.

"(My children) make it easy to be able to do that. I can come home and transition into being a father and really, it's made me a better player because I don't dwell on the things that I used to dwell on."

Bruener, the veteran tight end and father of four, emphasized one key point to the audience.

"There's 10 things that All Pro Dad tries to emphasize, and one of the things that I really try to embrace is being a role model," he said. "Not only are we role models for other children just because of what we do for a living, but I'm a role model every day when I go home to my kids. And I really try to take a strong emphasis to show them what I believe a good father or a good parent should do. It's really, really important that you set a good example to them."

Texans fans were delighted to hear their favorite players discuss their own fatherhood strategies and how important fatherhood is to them.

"The message is everyone's a father," Bryce from Pearland said. "We all have big responsibilities. These guys, they're under the spotlight they have a lot of pressure on them constantly, but yet they can still go home just as I do as I go home from a day from work."

Marciano, while humble about being a role model, appreciated being able to impart what All Pro Dad has taught him to make a positive impact on fathers in the local community.

"I don't know if I've made an impact on everybody, but if I've made an impact on a few then I've done good," Marciano said. "All I know is my job as a dad and a role model for my son is of the utmost importance. We are role models. Parents are the role models, and (the children) are going to mimic whatever they see at home. It all starts at home."

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