By Army Sgt. 1st Class Tyrone C. Marshall Jr.
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Jan. 31, 2014 - Players in this year's Super Bowl set aside time before Sunday's game to thank members of the U.S. military, particularly those who are deployed and stationed abroad, for their sacrifices while defending the nation.
"I want to tell all the troops over there in Afghanistan how much we appreciate what they're doing for our country to protect our country," said Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning. "We are praying for you."
Manning and other players from the Denver Broncos and their Super Bowl rivals, the Seattle Seahawks expressed their gratitude for troops serving to protect their freedoms during shout outs this week.
"Thank you all for all you do," Broncos wide receiver Wes Welker said. "You are the reason we have the opportunity to play this game, so thank you."
"Thank you for everything you guys have done for us, and continue to do for us to be able to be here to play this great game of football," said Russell Wilson, quarterback for the Seahawks. "Thank you guys so much for everything you do protecting our country."
"Hey, we appreciate all your hard work and your dedication, and your sacrifice," Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman said. "Thank you for everything you do for our country and for us fighting for our freedom. We appreciate it."
Golden Tate, a wide receiver for the Seahawks, thanked troops for serving and hoped they will enjoy the game.
"This country wouldn't be anything without you guys serving and fighting for us every single day for our freedom," Tate said. "We appreciate it so much, and we hope you enjoy the show."
For others, such as Seahawks wider receiver Doug Baldwin, their message came from a little closer to home.
"My family is a military family," Baldwin said. "We appreciate everything those guys do. It's very heartfelt for me."
Both teams want military members to know they are not forgotten.
"To the men and women serving overseas -- come home safe," said Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch.