EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- Jabari Price became a dad six months ago today. His eyes were opened to the issue of childhood obesity years before that, by Michelle Obama's "Let's Move" campaign. Now, the Minnesota Vikings defensive back is about to begin a journey to fight the epidemic he hopes will end in the White House lawn with the First Lady.
On Saturday, Price and his older brother Dahrnaz Tigner will begin "The Walk of Hearts," a 1,056-mile journey from Pompano Beach, Florida, to Washington, D.C., to promote ways to curb childhood obesity. The brothers plan to walk 30 miles a day, starting along Highway A1A on the coast of the Atlantic Ocean; Price will pull back from the journey after about two weeks, so he can get ready for Vikings training camp, but Tigner will continue on toward the nation's capitol. The hope, Price said Wednesday, is that Obama will walk the final mile of the journey with Tigner sometime in late July -- around the time the Vikings begin training camp in Mankato, Minnesota.
"[Obama's initiative] wasn't just something for her benefit; it changed lunches in schools," Price said. "I watched the NFL pitch [the] 'Play 60' [initiative]. Those things started hitting home for me. I don't want [my daughter Aubrey] to [have] these [issues,] either. Those things pretty much sealed the deal, and made me want to reach out and do something for myself, instead of just sitting on my butt."
Price said he and Tigner have plotted out resting points along the way for their journey, which figures to require a total of 345 walking hours. They will start their daily walks in the cool of the morning, plan to rest in the late afternoons and evenings and keep the public aware of their journey through interviews and social media updates. As Price makes the first leg of the journey, how do the Vikings feel about him walking that much?
"They want me to get it done, come back and get to work," Price said. "When I break off from Dahrnaz, I'll be coming back to Fort Lauderdale and training with my trainer. ... I think everything's going to be the same. Walking 30 miles and doing what I do every day, that doesn't add up. I feel like that's a little less demanding than what I do here. I'm not really too concerned about it -- it's like second nature for me. I'm ready for it, and I can't wait. I'm on my feet all day. It's nothing new for me."
Should Price and Tigner stay on pace, the cornerback would cover about 420 miles in his two weeks of walking. And should the 2014 seventh-round pick out of North Carolina make the Vikings' roster out of training camp after that, he'll begin the year with a unique story to tell his daughter one day.
"I'm learning on the fly; I'm learning every day," he said. "It's something I hope to get better at. I'm not the best dad, but I want to be the best dad. I just want to take my first step with this right here."