Stinchcombs to host Countdown to Kickoff

Stinchcombs to host Countdown to Kickoff

ATHENS – Matt Stinchcomb spent seven years in the NFL before complications from back surgery prematurely ended his career. "I can't get a doctor to sign off on me," the former University of Georgia All-America offensive lineman said. "I'm unofficially medically retired."

Now Stinchcomb is working in real estate and seeking employment in the financial field with someone looking for "an old beat-up meathead," he said. (Die-hard Georgia fans will realize Stinchcomb is vastly underselling his intellect. He won the 1998 Draddy Trophy, which is the NCAA's top academic award for college football players.)

In the meantime, he and brother Jon, also a former All-American tackle for the Bulldogs.

"Jon and I were talking about it a couple years ago and decided it would be nice to come back and make a difference in our college communities," said Matt Stinchcomb, who played for the Oakland Raiders and Tampa Bay Buccaneers as a pro. "There's no other forum that allows the fans to have access to guys like this. If I were a fan, I'd be excited. I say if I were fan, I guess I am a fan since I don't play there anymore."

The Stinchcombs are calling the get-together, which they hope will be the first of many, Countdown to Kickoff, and it will be held Saturday at UGA's practice fields behind the Butts-Mehre building from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. In addition to the brothers, former Georgia players Garrison Hearst, Charles Grant, Thomas Davis, Verron Haynes, Randy McMichael, Will Witherspoon, Cory Phillips, Russ Tanner and Dennis Roland are expected to attend. Current UGA players and Hairy Dawg also will be in attendance.

In addition to giving fans access to players, the event will serve as a reunion of sorts for the former Bulldogs, Matt Stinchcomb said.

"It's hard to stay in touch with the guys who are wearing the uniform now," he said.

Pre-sale tickets remain and more are expected to be available at the door. Tickets are $30 and can be purchased at www.ugakickoff.com or by calling 1-866-428-9411. A family pack costs $100 and includes four tickets, a full-size autograph football and four meals from Chick-fil-A.

All proceeds will be split between the Georgia Transplant Foundation, Children's Healthcare of Atlanta and a children's program supported by UGA's College of Education.

"Basically, we wanted to impact kids," Matt Stinchcomb said. "There are some unbelievably compelling stories out there."

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