PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) — While the Philadelphia Eagles had an off day, some players took the time to show favoritism and surprise students and parents.

AJ Brown and running back Miles Sanders, along with Swoope and the team’s cheerleaders, visited the young football players at the Shepard Recreation Center.

This recreation center was a scene of a gruesome execution In August, five people were injured. Investigators say about 100 shots were fired.

SEE ALSO: Police ID 3 Suspects Charged in Shooting Near West Philly Recreation Center; 5 wounded

“Coming back here like this is about sustainability. It’s about benefiting from sustainability. It’s great to hear from guys who’ve been there, lived there, done that and gotten away with it,” said Valencia Peterson, executive director of Open Door Abuse Awareness & Prevention Inc.

A lesson for young football players in West Philadelphia: You can be bigger than your environment.

SEE ALSO: Football players and cheerleaders return to Philadelphia recreation center after five shootings

AJ Brown says he and other players came out to support the team. He also shared his testimony of losing friends and family to gun violence and prison.

Sanders shared a similar story and his desire not to be a statistic.

“To see the Eagles come into the community, especially in this area of ​​town where they don’t normally get to see people of this magnitude, was truly a blessing,” said Sheila Armstrong, mother of one of the players. “It shows that the players can relate to who they are because they grew up in the same environment that we see.”

The players also stayed for a photo shoot and Q&A with young players.

The event was part of the Eagles Care Community Tuesday 2022 initiative and the team’s mission to develop football at the youth level.

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