SPRING -- Jacob Martin joked that his golf swing needs a ton of work, and that any flaws in his mechanics would be magnified at Top Golf.
It was hard to tell, though, Monday as the Texans defensive end hammered drives during his inaugural Texas Together Golf Challenge.
The charity event raised money for Boots For Troops, an organization in Tomball founded by executive director Jimmy Rogers that assists military personnel by gifting them customized care packages, boots and holiday flights.
“This means a lot to me,” Martin said. “This is a cause that’s near and dear to me because my father served in the military and a lot of my family have served. I’m thrilled with the support and how this has gone. This is what it's all about."
Launched in 2015, Boots for Troops is geared toward boosting morale to sending over 1,000 packages annually overseas to the Middle East and other locations across the world. Roughly 100 golfers participated Monday.
“It’s a great turnout,” said Rogers, a Navy veteran. “I’m not surprised. We get requests from service members all over the world. We find out who their favorite sports teams are, their favorite snacks, what they’re missing from home and we build a custom care package for them.
"Anything to boost their morale, that’s what we’re looking to do. We want to show them that we support them and show appreciation for what they’re doing. I’ve been there and I know what that’s like, there’s no better feeling than getting something from home.”
Rogers and Martin first connected on social media when Rogers sent Martin a flyer on Twitter inviting him to a golf tournament benefiting the cause.
“I did not expect him to respond, but he did respond and we’ve kind of fostered that relationship since then and he’s been very gracious to our organization,” Rogers said. “Jacob is a true supporter of the troops. We appreciate Jacob. This is a prime example of how one little Tweet can change everything for an organization.”
Martin was joined at his event by teammate Whitney Mercilus, a veteran pass rusher who’s a mentor, friend and example to him as a philanthropist who gets involved in the community.
“I remember the first time Jacob came up to me in the locker room and I knew we were going to click right away,” Mercilus said. “It means a lot for me doing an event, having the guys come out and support me. It means a lot to me and I want to pay it forward. Jacob is a great dude. He’s my brother since he first set foot in the locker room.”
Martin invited several NFL players to attend. He felt confident that Mercilus would be there for him.
“I knew if there was one guy who showed up it would be Whitney,” Martin said. “It means the world to me for Whitney to be here. This is my OG. He has lived this life longer and better than I could ever imagine. The amount of work he does in the Houston community and who he helps and how he helps are what I aspire to
“I really look up to Whit and how he moves and I really look to him in terms of his movements off the field. Yeah, he’s a great football player and someone I can lean on. It means the world to me to have him here and support this event.”
Aaron Wilson has covered the NFL for 20 seasons, including the Texans, Baltimore Ravens, Tennessee Titans and Jacksonville Jaguars. He has previously written for The Houston Chronicle and The Baltimore Sun. He’s on Twitter: @AaronWilson_NFL and Instagram: @aaronwilson7128.