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NFL looks back at Calvin Johnson's football roots

Associated Press

New York — From backyards to playgrounds to schools, the NFL is looking back at its players' roots through its Play 60 program.

The latest promotion, themed "Come Out To Play," focuses on where the likes of Lions receiver Calvin Johnson, the Manning brothers, Victor Cruz and J.J. Watt embraced football as youngsters. The spot will debut on television Thanksgiving Day and run for the rest of the season.

Highlighted will be Johnson's Sandy Creek High School in Tyrone, Ga.; the house where Peyton and Eli Manning grew up in New Orleans, Watt's house in Pewaukee, Wis.; and Victor Cruz's house in Patterson, N.J. Also featured are the playground where Cam Newton played in College Park, Ga.; Johnny Unitas-Bigbee Field in East Brady, Penn., where Jim Kelly learned the game; and the South Oakland neighborhood and home in Pittsburgh where Dan Marino began to develop into a Hall of Fame quarterback.

Play 60 is the NFL's initiative for fans to stay active through exercise. Several NFL players will be featured in the latest promotion doing activities with children in their communities.

"You heard that bell ring and everyone would go play after school," says NFL rushing leader DeMarco Murray of the Cowboys, who revisited his school in Las Vegas. "We all had bikes and we'd pretend they were like motorcycles and ride through the neighborhood.

"It is important for kids to have a chance to go out and play."