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NFL Defensive Player Guards End Zone, America

By Samantha L. Quigley
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Dec. 19, 2005 – When Seattle Seahawk's defensive end Bryce Fisher isn't staring down an opponent across the line of scrimmage, he's standing in defense of freedom.

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Air National Guard Capt. Bryce Fisher is a 1999 Air Force Academy graduate and starting defensive end for the NFL's Seattle Seahawks. Photo by Staff Sgt. Martina Culich, USAF

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Fisher, a native of Renton, Wash., recently took the oath of office as a captain in the Washington Air National Guard, where he now serves as a public affairs officer.

Fisher graduated from the Air Force Academy in 1999, and the Buffalo Bills drafted him in the seventh round of the National Football League draft the same year. Because of his unique situation, an agreement he reached with the Air Force led to him serving two years active duty and another nine in the reserve component. Normally, an Air Force Academy graduate must serve five years on active duty and three in the inactive reserves.

"The agreement I made with the Air Force when I separated (from active duty) in 2001 was that my commitment would transfer to a unit that was close to the team that I was playing for," Fisher said.

Fisher, whose father retired from the Army Reserve, served one year of active duty at the Air Force Academy recruiting potential officer candidates, coaching the junior varsity football team's defensive line and assisting the varsity football team with game-plan preparations. He spent a second year of active duty at Pope Air Force Base, N.C., as a vehicle operations officer.

The Bills cut him before he could enlist in the New York Air National Guard. He then joined the Missouri Air National Guard during his three-year tenure with the St. Louis Rams.

During the regular NFL season, Fisher serves on his days off. He said that scheduling is very difficult, but the Air National Guard has been flexible. "Tuesday's are the NFL official day off, so I am able to serve on those days more so than any other," he said. "During the off season, I intend to serve to the fullest extent possible."

However, Fisher's off-season temporarily has been postponed. With two games remaining in the regular season, the Seahawks have clinched the 2005 National Football Conference West title with a record of 12 wins and two losses.

While he hasn't been deployed yet, Fisher said he would gladly fulfill his duties if activated.

"Wearing the Air National Guard uniform is an honor. Brave men and women around the globe wear this uniform, and I am appreciative of the sacrifices they make," Fisher said. "I have not been deployed yet. If that were to happen, I have been trained to do my job and would do so to the best of my abilities."

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Washington Air National Guard

Click photo for screen-resolution imageAir Force Maj. Gen. Timothy Lowenberg, adjutant general for the Washington Military Department, swears Capt. Bryce Fisher into the Washington Air National Guard. In his civilian life, Fisher is a starting defensive end for the National Football League's Seattle Seahawks. Photo by Staff Sgt. Martina Culich, USAF  
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