CINCINNATI, Ohio – Several Bengals players helped pick up trash and remove overgrown honeysuckle from a Cincinnati Park Tuesday.

  • Team members volunteered ahead of 9/11 Day
  • Cincinnati Parks needs volunteers to help take care of 5,000 acres
  • Volunteer opportunities available for 9/11 Day and this weekend

The players were helping promote volunteerism ahead of 9/11 Day, a National Day of Service and Remembrance.

Inwood Park along Vine Street has a lake, pavilion, and basketball and tennis courts. But in the woods near one corner of the park is an area overgrown with brush and littered with trash.

Cincinnati Parks Director Wade Walcutt said the area is home to “nefarious and illegal activity.” It's also been a homeless camp.

But Tuesday, city park workers and Bengals players started removing trash and chipping up honeysuckle trees. A long way from a football field, the players know giving back to the Cincinnati area is important.

“I think the Bengals understand that responsibility that they have and it is a message they are sending,” said Rocky Merz, Cincinnati Parks Business Services and Division Manager. “And tomorrow is National Day of Service, 9-11, and we're doing this in conjunction with that to draw attention to volunteerism.”

Bengals Tight End Jordan Franks understands the importance of taking care of your community.

“If you really think about it it's your backyard,” Franks said while picking up trash. “You want to help out your neighbors. We're just trying to clean up right now and clean up the city.”

Franks said he came across all kinds of trash, including needles.

“To be honest, it's bad. But that's why we have to come out here for. To clean it up, help promote cleaning the environment.”

Veteran defensive end Kerry Wynn is in his first year with the Bengals. It's a reminder that for the joy football brings him, others are struggling.

“Things like this happen,” Wynn said. “This is real stuff. People are really struggling with addiction and other things. These are real problems. So, I'm honestly not surprised to walk and see needles and things like that.”

Merz said Cincinnati Parks is responsible for 5,000 acres across the city. Volunteers are vital to maintaining the parks system.

“It's no secret we can't do it alone here at Cincinnati Parks,” Merz said. “We need help, we need help from the community. Our volunteers are fantastic and the Bengals are no exception.”

As the NFL celebrates its 100th season it is promoting Huddle For 100. An effort to encourage its teams and fans to donate 100 minutes of service to transform their communities for the next 100 years.

Here are a list of sites where you can search for volunteer opportunities in your community:

Cincinnati Cares

Volunteer Match

911 Day

Hands On Central Ohio

Greater Cleveland Volunteers