NFL Players Who Were Adopted


With the NFL playoffs underway we thought we would take a look at some memorable football players who were adopted and the impacts they have made.

Daunte Culpepper is a great advocate for adoption. He was born to a single teen mother, Barbara Henderson, who was in prison. He was adopted when he was a day old by Emma Daunte, but has stayed in contact with his biological mother. Daunte played football for the University of Central Florida and was drafted in 1999 by the Minnesota Vikings. He has also played for the Miami Dolphins, Oakland Raiders, and Detroit Lions. Outside of football, Daunte has always been a large supporter of the African American Adoption Agency (AAAA) by donating to the organization and through hosting an annual Golf tournament to raise money for Adoptive Families. Daunte was named a national “Angel in Adoption,” in 2006, by the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute. He has also been a speaker for a United Way celebration "Reason To Be Thankful." He is now retired and continues to be a great supporter for adoption.

Another adoptee, Hall of Fame running back, Eric Dickerson, who holds the current record for single-season NFL rushing record of 2,105 yards since 1984, was most recently in the news because his record was almost broken by Adrian Peterson on December 30, 2012. Eric posted a picture on Twitter of him and his son with the caption “Daddy keeps the record!!!!! My son will break one day.” Colts fans may remember Eric for the short period he played for Indianapolis (where MLJ Adoptions is located) after being traded by the Rams in one of the biggest trades ever in the NFL. He only ended up playing nine games for the Indianapolis Colts but he helped lead them to their first winning season in ten years. Eric was born on September 2, 1960, in Sealy, Texas, to Helen Johnson and was adopted by his great-great aunt Viola Dickerson. He continues to be close with his birth mother but calls Viola “mama” and she has been a great influence in his life.

Scott Fujita, Cleveland Browns linebacker, was born on April 28, 1979, and was adopted by Rodney and Helen Fujita. Fujita was raised in California in a Japanese-American home and celebrates traditions from both cultures. Scott is a great advocate for adoption who been a spokesperson for a foster to adopt program in Kansas City’s “Monday’s Child,” Adoption Awareness Month in New Orleans, and Catholic Charities for Adoption.

Tim Green is a father, husband, lawyer, 2011 winner of the NCAA Silver Anniversary Award, former NFL linebacker and defensive end for the Atlanta Falcons, Fox and NPR commentator and a New York Times bestselling author. He was called the “Renaissance Man” by Sports Illustrated. One of his books that has caught the attention of the adoption community is his 1997 memoir, A Man and His Mother: An Adoped Son’s Search, about his search for his biological mother. Green donates his time and money to reading programs and other children’s charities like the Golisano Children’s Hospital.

If you’re familiar with the movie The Blind Side, then you know the touching adoption story of Michael Oher and how he went from living on the streets to being adopted by Leigh Anne and Sean Tuohy. Oher went on to play college football at the University of Mississippi. He was drafted in 2009 by the Baltimore Ravens. Oher has written an autobiography that tells his touching story called Beat The Odds: From Homelessness to The Blind Side and Beyond and his parents co-authored a book that tells the story from their point of view called, In a Heartbeat: Sharing the Power of Cheerful Giving. Michael and his parents continue to be big adoption advocates and are actively involved in helping others through their foundation that supports families in the adoption process called Making It Happen: The Tuohy Family Foundation.

As football players they have used their celebrity status to support adoption, a cause that has made a great impact on their lives. This is just a few of the NFL players whose lives have been touched by adoption. There are many children waiting for forever families and we are very thankful for these players who have supported adoption.

Photo 1 Credit: Erik Drost

Photo 2 Credit: Jeff Weese

For more information regarding international adoption click here.

MLJ Adoptions is a Non-Profit, Hague-Accredited adoption service provider located in Indianapolis, Indiana, working in Africa, Eastern Europe, Latin America and the Pacific Isles. We are passionate about serving children in need.