These days, Whitney Mercilus is keeping himself busy during his offseason days spent at home like everyone else during the COVID-19 crisis.
"Quarantine's been great," Mercilus said. "To be honest, finding new recipes to cook, getting a little time to chill, read some books, learn some new crafts, all that. Also, for me, just getting a little deeper into the Word of the Bible. So quarantine, can't really complain at all."
With team facilities closed around the NFL, Mercilus has continued his workouts at home too. The Houston Texans starting outside linebacker, now in his ninth season, has a workout regimen, weights and even a field near his home to work on his football drills, sprints, pass-rush techniques and anything else he needs to work on his craft.
While quarantine has been relatively easy for the veteran, he does worry about those who are more vulnerable with all the COVID-19 related closures.
"My mind has been on these kids with disabilities, learning disabilities especially, since that's a focus of WithMerci this year," Mercilus said. "I just want to provide anything and everything."
Through his WithMerci Foundation, Mercilus has helped many families of children with disabilities over the years. On Monday, Mercilus partnered with his foundation for a grocery shopping spree for Smartie Pants Academy. The long-time partner of WithMerci recently expressed its challenges in securing food for the nearly 40 Smartie Pants students they serve daily due to the purchasing limits imposed by retailers.
Mercilus and his team placed a call to Costco in Katy (23645 Katy Frwy.) to share Smartie Pants' story. WithMerci was able to provide the academy's director enough goods for the next couple of months. Mercilus also took care of their detail-cleaning service of the school for the next two months.
This week, Mercilus continued his community work by giving to Easter Seals, an organization also dedicated to helping those with special needs and disabilities. During this pandemic, the WithMerci Foundation has seen a dramatic increase in the needs of these children which include food, mobile devices, medication and medical equipment. Despite the social limitations, Mercilus has still found a way to give back during this critical time.
"Yeah, quarantine is very different, different times," Mercilus said. "Things are going to change and we'll see when we get out of this thing. But other than that, we'll continue to keep pushing our mission and help the world as much as we can."