March 12, 2015

Browns center Alex Mack and Saints defensive tackle Akiem Hicks are among four NFL players who will visit U.S. troops in the Middle East.

They will spend a week visiting military bases, part of an initiative between the league and the USO that began in 1966.

Also traveling will be free agent Will Svitek and Brian Banks, who now works in the NFL's officiating department.

Mack also made the tour three years ago and says of the troops: ''They do a dangerous job so we can enjoy our freedom and way of life. I'm lucky a lot of our soldiers enjoy watching football and I can bring a little slice of home out to them while they are serving.''

In the past, Hall of Famers John Unitas, Terry Bradshaw, Larry Csonka, Franco Harris, Lynn Swann and Howie Long have made USO tours.

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AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP-NFL

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