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D.J. Humphries Blossoming On And Off The Field

Cardinals' left tackle starting charitable foundation to honor grandmother, help hometown

T D.J. Humphries has evolved during his six years with the Cardinals.
T D.J. Humphries has evolved during his six years with the Cardinals.

D.J. Humphries has always given off the antagonistic little brother vibe.

The Cardinals' left tackle loves to tease and joke, sometimes to the amusement of others, sometimes to keep himself entertained.

While the fun-loving disposition will always be a part of his personality, the 27-year-old is also reaching a new stage in his life.

After early-career questions about his maturity, Humphries has evolved into one of the best blindside protectors in the NFL. And this offseason, he's intent on becoming a pillar of the community in his hometown of Union, South Carolina.

"It's part of my next chapter," Humphries said, "and what I'd like to be."

Humphries on Tuesday announced the creation of PeeWee's House, a charitable foundation named in honor of his grandmother, Elizabeth Means, who was nicknamed PeeWee.

Its first act will be a fresh food initiative that gives away more than 2,000 boxes full of fruits, vegetables and other fresh ingredients to people in Union. Humphries said that between a lack of knowledge, a lack of resources and overall inconvenience, many people in Union forgo more nutritional options, which can eventually lead to health problems.

"A lot of the neighborhoods in my hometown are kind of locked into a food desert," Humphries said. "You pass the fast food restaurants, the corner store, the liquor store, things like that, before you get to the grocery store."

Humphries said his grandmother knew the importance of nutrition while raising him, but didn't always have the money to buy fresh produce over canned goods. After signing a three-year, $44 million contract extension last offseason, he wants to help those who are in a similar situation.

Union is a town of less than 10,000 people, so Humphries will be able to see the tangible effect he has on people's lives.

"Being in the position that I am now, being from a place so small, I'm actually in position to enact some change and help," he said. "I'm excited to be able to do that, and I'm even more excited to be able to do that in my grandmother's name."

It took some time for Humphries to find his NFL footing, but the maturation process he's undergone from a 21-year-old rookie to present day is noticeable. Humphries now has two children and a wife, Briyana, who he didn't hesitate to compliment for her work with PeeWee's House.

"Really the only thing I've done is come up with the name, tell her what I wanted it to look like and how I wanted it to be," Humphries said. "She's literally done everything else. Shout out to you, Bri. You're the MVP."

The fresh food initiative is only the first step for PeeWee's House. Humphries wants to encourage the kids from Union to forge successful paths as adults, whether that means attending a four-year university or mastering a trade.

"If I was 5-10, 250 I don't think I would have went to the University of Florida," Humphries said. "I'm pretty athletic, but I don't know if I'm that athletic. And I think about what I'd be doing if I wasn't 6-5, 300 pounds. I feel like I would have been a kid that went to a trade school, because I'm a hands-on guy."

Humphries did end up big, strong and athletic, and after some consternation upon his arrival with the Cardinals, has lived up to his potential.

Now he's the older brother showing those from Union they can follow in his footsteps.

"There's a different feeling people get when they get to know they can be more," Humphries said. "There's more than outside this town. I'm an example. I come from the same place that you come from, these same schools, and you can do something."