Last week was a disaster in Texas. Most of the state lost power, water or both for days upon end. Here at FootballScoop's Texas offices, we were without power for 36 hours and without clean water for longer, and we counted ourselves lucky. Amid a record-setting freeze, the state's power authority said Texas was less than five minutes from a complete system collapse.
For Texans already struggling to get by, last week's catastrophe was simply a new crisis dropped haphazardly on top of an existing, ongoing crisis.
Like everyone in the country, Texas assistant director of player development Michael Huff witnessed the crisis, sympathizing for those most affected. Unlike most everyone, Huff decided to do something about it.
“It was a family in East Austin and they hadn’t had power or water for, I think he said, five days,” Huff said, via Burnt Orange Nation. “Honestly, like a lot of people out there. It was a dad, a mom, and they had two daughters, and the two daughters were eight and four, just like my little girls, so I kind of put myself in his shoes: How can I help this family? I couldn’t help turn on the water. I couldn’t turn on the power. Things like that. But they live right around the corner from Juan in a Million [ed note: a legendary breakfast taco place in Austin], so okay, they can walk safely, have a taco, have two, have three, or four. That was kind of the story that kind of started for me.”
It started with a single tweet, sent last Thursday.
Huff's philanthropy was since grown into a movement. On a near-daily basis for a week now, Huff has purchased hundreds of meals for Texans in the state's major population centers.
The obvious question is how Huff's wallet can possibly match up with his heart. An All-American safety at Texas, Huff won the Thorpe Award as college football's top defensive back on the Longhorns' 2005 national championship team. He was a first-round pick of the Oakland Raiders in 2006 and played eight seasons in the league. SportTraclists his career earnings north of $35 million. "I didn’t spend any money in my first contract, and that helped me live kind of the way I am now, to be able to give back and take of my money financially and things like that," he said. "That’s my thing, just being smart with your money early on so when you’re 30, 40, 50, 60 and have a family, you’re not living check to check and can still help out with the community, and that kind of respects.”
Huff returned to his alma mater as a member of Tom Herman's staff in the winter of 2016 and has remained on in the transition to Steve Sarkisian. His role remains the same, as a living example of how to prepare for life after football.
“I’m a Texas boy, born and raised in Irving, and after that I went to UT Austin, went to California to play for the Raiders, and came back to Texas. But Texas will always be my home and I said if I can do anything to give back, that’s what I’m willing to do.”