(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) On the football field, the Missouri Western defensive line is known as "Death Row," but that tough exterior melts away when they clock-in for their summer job.
Linemen David Bass, Ben Pister and Sean Tray Bryson, along with wide receiver Tyron Crockom, take on a father-figure role at St. Paul Lutheran Childcare.
"You go from being 'Death Row' to a nice guy," Bryson said.
The stature of a college football player may intimidate some, but it does not affect the children at St. Paul Lutheran.
"You know I kind of thought that they'd fear you a little more since we're bigger, but a lot of them don't have that fear factor in them really," Pister said. "Some of them are still little snot nosed kids that run around and do whatever. I think some of the women have more of a pull on them than we do."
If Missouri Western's off-season workouts were not enough, chasing children around each afternoon tires the athletes out if they were not already.
"We are exhausted," Crockom said. "but I don't know how we do it, because they want us to pick them up, throw them in the air, climb on us."
At the end of the day though, it is a rewarding experience for the athletes and the kids.
"I enjoy working with kids," Crockom said. "I'm a big kid at heart, so I guess this is perfect."