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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- A perk usually reserved for those on the field of play, not on the battle field, has been bestowed upon a local soldier and several other troops who are popping up in packs of football trading cards.
Sgt. Mark M. Middlebrook has never played in an NFL game, but the soldier from Ponte Vedra is now being featured in packs of football cards.
The soldier's father told Channel 4 the picture of his son on his trading card was taken in Baghdad right after a sniper incident.
Middlebrook, a Nease High School graduate, is one of 11 military men and women that Topps Football Cards has inserted in packs along with football stars.
Middlebrooks' card represents the Jacksonville Jaguars.
"He's a huge fan. He just lives and breathes Jaguars. He'd be out on tough combat mission, and then he'd call late at night and say, 'What happened with Jaguars?' That's all he cared about," said the soldier's father, Mark Middlebrook.
Middlebrook's dad has collected about 20 of his son's cards so far. He said the family is excited for their son.
"It's a big deal. It's really nice," Middlebrook said.
The troops trading cards were not the first time the Ponte Vedra soldier has been in the public spotlight. On Memorial Day, he addressed a crowd downtown about what it means to be a soldier.
Middlebrook has served two tours in Iraq so far, and may have another left. He is current at Fort Bragg.
"This is great. It's a real honor to see him on football card. You can actually buy him on eBay. He's a commodity," Middlebrook said.
So, as young people collect football cards in search of their favorite sports hero, they just might end up with a different type of hero in the palm of their hands.
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