Browns' Alex Mack can draw from experience on Memorial Day


Cleveland Browns center Alex Mack appreciates Memorial Day. Mack has been on two USO tours, including a week-long trip to Afghanistan this offseason.

Mack’s father was in the Army during the Vietnam War time, and his cousin was in the Air Force. Mack was one of four NFL players on this specific tour overseas, where the group visited several different job sites and held Q&As.

“It’s fun to go out there and see what these soldiers do, and at the same time you get to tell them, ‘What you do is important. We’re here to support you. Thank you,’” Mack said.

Mack has been pleasantly surprised by how many football fans -- particularly Browns fans -- are overseas serving the U.S. Troops asked Mack about a wide variety of topics, from professional motivation to the Browns’ starting quarterback position, to which Mack said he expected a quarterback battle between Josh McCown and Johnny Manziel.

NFL coaches and players frequently visit troops. Indianapolis Colts coach Chuck Pagano recently took a few of his players on an eight-day trip overseas.

If Mack has his way, he won’t be done with USO tours any time soon.

"They have a tough job. A tough job that’s dangerous," Mack said. "It’s often kind of thankless. I think it's important to appreciate where we live and what people have to sacrifice to get what we have."