DEPEW, N.Y. (WKBW) — Former Buffalo Bills defensive tackle player Harrison Phillips continues to give back to the Western New York community by hosting the annual playmakers' event for people with autism and other developmental differences.
Phillips feels fulfilled in providing more opportunities for children and young adults.
"I like to flip those negative perceptions out there that they think this population is very dependent and needs a lot of help. That's not the case," he says. "They're very independent and can accomplish things on their own."
The children and their families say Phillips' compassion has been contagious.
"Unfortunately they say the NFL is a business but the mere fact that he's able to stay here and maintain this even throughout is something I'm excited for," says Kenny Madison, a father.
Another parent who continues to see the kind heart of Phillips says he has given his all to the community.
"Harrison has done so much for the community, especially these guys he goes out and plays with them," says Debbie Jacob, a mother. "It's just been really nice to have him, so we're grateful for everything he has done."
Phillips says it has been his calling to give back, and he hopes his example can help flip the switch on how some may view professional athletes.
"It's also on us athletes to flip those and say no we're role models and we who your kids should look up to," Phillips says.