The Atlanta Falcons made one of the biggest splashes in NFL free agency, signing All-Pro safety Jessie Bates III to bolster their defense. While bates will make a huge on-field impact next season, he is already planning to leave a positive mark in Atlanta off the field.
Bates, a Wake Forest alum, was the 54th overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft. He earned a prominent role in the Cincinnati Bengals secondary as a rookie, blossoming into one of the best defensive backs in the NFL.
- Jessie Bates stats (career): 327 solo tackles, 43 pass deflections, 14 interceptions
A native of Fort Wayne, Indiana, the 6-foot-1 safety earned second-team All-Pro honors in 2020 after recording 15 pass deflections with three interceptions and a forced fumble. Two years later, he received the franchise tag with Cincinnati and finished his five-year run as an integral part of the Bengals’ defensive success.
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After fielding multiple offers in NFL free agency, Bates chose to sign with the Falcons. Joining a team that had one of the worst defenses in the NFL last season, he is expected to serve as a leader on the field and will significantly influence their run defense and pass coverage. However, he is already making plans to influence even bigger changes away from the field.
Bates told Kelly Price of Fox 5 Sports in Atlanta the first thing he will spend his new contract money on is providing support for single-mother households and organizations in the region.
“I’ve been raised by a single mom, you know you’re blessed to be able to live your dream and make a little bit of money and impact your family. But I think it says a lot about trying to impact other families, similar families that I can relate to. Also being able to do that with my mother, I think is even more special.”Jessie Bates on donating $1 million to Atlanta-based organizations that support single-mother families (H/T Kelly Price of FOX 5 Sports)
Bates’s efforts to help others have been recognized by the NFL in the past. In December, he was named the NFLPA Community MVP after holding his third annual Single Mother’s Initiative event, treating six single moms and their families to three days of shopping, festivities and a Bengals’ game in a suite.
Raised in a single-parent household in Indiana, Bates’ inspiration for helping others all comes from the mother who raised him.
“Being named NFLPA Community MVP is an amazing accomplishment for the JB3 Single Mom’s Initiative.”Growing up, I saw how hard my mom worked to provide for me and my family, and I want to be able to give back to single moms who are doing the same thing for their families now.”Jessie bates after being named Week 15 NFLPA Community MVP
The $1 million will go directly towards helping those single-parent households in need, providing them with the support they need and helping others with similar experiences to Bates experience some of their dreams. When the 2023 NFL season comes around, it’s safe to say the JB3 Single Mom Initiative will be leaving its mark in Atlanta.