Edgar Jones has always felt a connection with the military. His grandfather, uncle and a couple cousins served. Three groomsmen in his wedding were in the military.
When Jones retired from the NFL in 2015 after an eight-year career, some of the people he connected most with were veterans transitioning out of the military. So when somebody introduced him to Woobies shoes, which calls itself the first veteran-owned shoe company, Jones thought it was a great fit.
Now one of five owners in the company, Jones is using it to do good in his former Baltimore community. Jones will be at Sunday's Ravens-Panthers game donating shoes to dozens of military members as part of the Ravens' Salute to Service efforts.
"The Ravens just always supported the veterans. I always appreciated that," said Jones, who originally signed with the Ravens as an undrafted free agent and spent five seasons (2007-2011) with the team.
"When I transitioned out of football, that became my second family – the veterans. We just had a lot of things in common. We were transitioning."
The company is based out of the Dallas-Fort Worth area, near where Jones currently lives. He was introduced to it two years ago.
Last year, Jones came to Baltimore for a ruck march, where former military members wear weighted backpacks in long marches, around the Inner Harbor and back to M&T Bank Stadium. He did it in conjunction with former Ravens linebacker Jarret Johnson, who is an owner of Black Rifle Coffee, another veteran-owned business.
They had nearly a dozen veterans on hand for that and used it as a way to collect goods to donate to a local food bank. Then Jones and Johnson gave the veterans tickets to the game as a way to honor their service.
"I just want to help some veterans out," Jones said.