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Bills Notebook: Josh Allen gifts Super Bowl trip to Army veteran

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Jim Kelly Golf Classic Josh Allen (copy)

Bills quarterback Josh Allen will take part in "The Match" on TNT on June 1.

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Buffalo Bills fans can’t get enough of Josh Allen at the moment.

The team’s franchise quarterback is in California, where he’ll compete in the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, which begins Thursday.

Next week, Allen will be in Los Angeles ahead of Super Bowl LVI at SoFi Stadium. On Wednesday, it was announced that through a partnership with USAA and The Veterans of Foreign Wars, Allen had awarded a trip to the Super Bowl to Cory Geisler, who from 2005 to 2012 served in the U.S. Army, achieving the rank of staff sergeant.

Geisler, a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, was initially stationed in South Korea at Camp Walker, where he served as a driver and gunner. He was deployed to Iraq as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom from May 2007 to August 2008, where his duties included convoy escort, route reconnaissance, walking patrols and training of Iraqi police. He currently serves as the Wisconsin State Commander of the VFW.

Allen is scheduled to meet with Geisler and other military members at the USAA’s Salute to Service Lounge during Super Bowl weekend.

“Giving up a successful career to serve our country and enlist in the U.S. Army is incredibly admirable,” Allen said in a news release announcing the trip. “I can’t wait to shake his hand and thank him for his service.”

First, though, he’ll hit the links.

Allen will partner with Keith Mitchell in the AT&T field. The format is as follows: For Mitchell and the other 155 professionals in the field, it’s the standard 72 holes of stroke play contested over four rounds of 18 holes.

The pro-am competition pairs each professional with an amateur. The format is net best ball of the partners. The pro and amateur each play every hole, and the score that is counted is the better one after the amateur’s handicap is factored in. Each amateur’s handicap is different, ranging from 0 (meaning they get no help) to 16 (which means they get one stroke on every hole except the two easiest on the course).

The first three rounds are played on three different courses – Pebble Beach, Spyglass Hill and Monterey Peninsula. After the first three rounds, the field is cut to the top 60 professionals and top 25 pro-am teams, with Sunday’s final round to be played at Pebble Beach.

The tournament will air on the Golf Channel from 3 to 6 p.m. Thursday and Friday, then from 1 to 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday on the Golf Channel and 3 to 7 p.m. Saturday on CBS. Final-round coverage Sunday will air from 3 to 6:30 p.m. on CBS.

It's a good bet Bills fans will be tuning in. A two-second video of Allen teeing off during a practice round was tweeted by the PGA Tour on Tuesday, and had more than 116,000 views by Wednesday.

Diggs gives, too

Stefon Diggs was also in the giving spirit Wednesday. As part of a partnership with Snickers, Diggs also gave away a trip to the Super Bowl. Diggs, along with Steelers receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster, Rams cornerback Jalen Ramsey and Packers receiver Davante Adams, participated in a season-long contest asking fans to submit their “rookie mistakes.” The four players re-created some of those mistakes in a series of videos before unveiling the winner Wednesday from more than 2,000 submissions.

Diggs will participate in the Pro Bowl Skills Showdown that airs at 7 p.m. Thursday on ESPN ahead of Sunday’s Pro Bowl game from Las Vegas’ Allegiant Stadium.

Sanders is finalist

Bills receiver Emmanuel Sanders was named one of five finalists for the NFL Players’ Association’s Alan Page Community Award.

Sanders was named the NFLPA’s Week 3 NFLPA Community MVP during the 2021 season after he announced the relaunch of his charitable foundation in Buffalo at the Harriet Ross Tubman School and donated $20,000 to the foundation’s cause of supporting children from financially disadvantage families.

“The motivation behind everything that I do is just to just try to make the world a better place, truthfully,” Sanders said in a video released by the NFLPA. “I love kids because I feel like kids are the most innocent people. They’re just trying to find their way in life, and I feel like If I can provide any help to a kid, it provides me the greatest joy.”

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News Sports Reporter

I started at The Buffalo News in 2009, and have previously been honored as one of the top 10 beat writers in the country by the Associated Press Sports Editors for my coverage of the Bills. I live in Amherst with my wife, Melissa, and son, Elliott.

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