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Warrick Dunn is a former running back in the NFL who played for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Atlanta Falcons.
Dunn was drafted by the Buccaneers 12th overall in the 1997 NFL Draft after playing college football at Florida State. He was named AP NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year in 1997 and was selected to three Pro Bowls in his career. He played for the Atlanta Falcons from 2002 to 2007 between stints in Tampa Bay. Following his playing career, Dunn purchased a stake in the Falcons' ownership group led by Arthur Blank.
In 1993, two months shy of his 18th birthday, Dunnís mother Betty Smothers, an off-duty police officer, was ambushed and killed by armed robbers. Three men were sent to prison for the murder and two remain on death row. Dunn became the head of his family and raised his siblings.
At Catholic High in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Dunn starred playing quarterback, cornerback and running back. This led to a successful college career at Florida State. He holds several Florida State rushing records including the marks for most career rushing yards (3,959) and most rushing yards in a season (1,418). Dunn is the only Seminole to rush for over 1,000 yards in three consecutive seasons. Dunn's jersey, along with those of other Seminoles players such as Fred Biletnikoff, Ron Sellers, Ron Simmons, Charlie Ward, Deion Sanders and Chris Weinke, has been retired by the university.
After spending the first five years of his career in Tampa Bay, Dunn signed with the Atlanta Falcons. Once again, he made an immediate impact on his team with 9 total TDs and a 5.4 yard per carry average. Dunn and fellow running back T.J. Duckett formed a dynamic duo with the Falcons as both runners accumulated over 1,000 yards that season. For his career, Dunn only missed ten games and accumulated 10,967 yards and 49 touchdowns. Dunn was released by the Falcons in March of 2008 and went back to the Buccaneers to finish up his career.
Dunn established the Warrick Dunn Foundation and the Homes for the Holidays program, which helps struggling single parents purchase homes. The program buys homes through a down payment provided by Dunn, who also works with area sponsors to furnish and outfit the homes. The program, as of April 2010, has assisted 93 single parents and 250 dependents in Atlanta, Baton Rouge, Tampa, and Tallahassee. Dunn's goal is help these parents realize the dream that his mother was not able to give to him and his siblings - to own their own home.
Dunn's achievements have been recognized over the years. He received a Giant Steps Award in civic leadership from former President Bill Clinton for his program. In 2005, Dunn was presented with the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award; named after the Chicago Bears which recognizes a player for his community service as well as for his excellence on the field. In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, Dunn challenged all NFL players, except for those who play for the New Orleans Saints, to donate at least $5,000 to the effort. The effort received over $5 million in contributions.
In 2007, Dunn, along with Andre Agassi, Muhammad Ali, Lance Armstrong, Jeff Gordon, Mia Hamm, Tony Hawk, Andrea Jaeger, Jackie Joyner-Kersee, Mario Lemieux, Alonzo Mourning and Cal Ripken, Jr., founded Athletes for Hope, a charitable organization that helps professional athletes, sports industry professionals and fans get involved in charitable causes.