NFL players travel to Middle East, train with Israeli Defense Forces

Two NFL players trained with Israeli soldiers on Thursday as part of an introduction to the country’s military drills.

Washington Redskins running back Adrian Peterson and free-agent cornerback Josh Norman completed obstacle courses and took lessons in Krav Maga at Wingate Institute in Netanya, Israel, before receiving a briefing about the military landscape in the Middle East.

“It’s amazing to get in there and train with these guys because they are at the top of their game at being in combat,” Norman told Fox News.

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One drill that stood out to the pair, required 40-pound vests and a steep hill. The players described the training as “running in sand” and said it’s one of a few things that they could take stateside in preparation for the 2020 NFL season.

“To go through some of the training and see the focus that it takes, the mental toughness...it just gives you a different appreciation for the training they do on a daily basis,” Peterson said.

The NFL athletes were also briefed by the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) on threats that Israel faces from places like Gaza, Syria and Lebanon.

Part of the day’s events involved learning how combat soldiers prepare for battle.

“We are proud of what we do to protect Israel and to have the opportunity to share with these athletes, that play such an empowering and physical sport, the way in which we train IDF troops,” IDF Major Roi Yablochnik said.

Two NFL players trained with Israeli soldiers on Thursday as part of an introduction to the country’s military drills. (Photos courtesy of IDF)

Two NFL players trained with Israeli soldiers on Thursday as part of an introduction to the country’s military drills. (Photos courtesy of IDF)

Peterson and Norman came to Israel as part of a collaboration with RoboActive #2069, an Israeli high school group that participates in the International FIRST Robotics Competition.

Peterson hosted two robotics teams at his personal gym, before meeting the group of Israeli students at a 2017 robotics competition in Houston, Texas. The yearly competition is meant to encourage innovation and collaboration among students across the world.

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Both Peterson, who runs the A&A Peterson Family Foundation, and Norman, who runs the Starz24 Foundation, say they’d like to return to Israel to continue their philanthropic efforts.

“I think the whole Israel experience has opened my eyes up to so much more,” Norman said.