Although NFL players have much to prepare for as the coming season approaches, many players chose to spend their “down” time giving back to their respective communities with football camps. This lengthy list is a tribute to the many players who use their skill and their platform as professional athletes to help others.
KWTX, May 6, 2017
Former Baylor quarterback Bryce Petty met one of his newest New York Jets teammates about three weeks ago, but knew immediately that helping out at Kelvin Beachum's Community Football Camp was something he wanted to do. Petty joined numerous other NFL players at the camp in Mexia, including Chris Carter (Washington), Robert Golden (Pittsburgh), Steve McLendon (NY Jets), Yannick Ngakoue (Jacksonville), Patrick Omameh (Jacksonville), Jermey Parnell (Jacksonville), Aldrick Robinson (San Francisco), free agents Josh LeRibeus and Will Johnson, and the CFL Ottawa Redblacks' Taylor Reed. "I'm a kid, I'm 27 so it's not like I'm old," Beachum said. "I still ask for autographs from time to time. It's a great honor for us athletes to have this kind of platform, to be able to show it to young people and use it the right way." Players ranging from the youth leagues into high school not only learned the game of football for free from current pros, but were also given free food, shirts and enjoyed music from DJ Dex. It's the fourth-straight year that Beachum organized the event, and plans on coming back to do it again next year.
ESPN, David Newton, May 9, 2017
The bank of the hill overlooking Revolution Park was lined with kids wearing white T-shirts with No. 58 on the back. Seven rows deep and more than 15 rows wide of No. 58 everywhere you looked on Saturday. The man of the hour was outside linebacker Thomas Davis, better known as TD. He was hosting more than 700 kids for a free football camp on a wet and cool morning as part of a big weekend for his Defending Dreams Foundation. Davis never attended a youth football camp until he was being recruited by the University of Georgia during his junior year of high school. That's one of the many reasons he was excited on this rainy Saturday. This weekend was an opportunity to raise money for yearlong events that make sure kids have opportunities he didn't. "We didn't have this kind of stuff down there where I'm from, " Davis said. "They don't have people putting on camps...former players. We didn't have a guy that made it to the NFL from my hometown." Not until 2005, when the Panthers made Davis the No. 14 overall pick out of Georgia. Since then, Davis has been on a mission, on and off the field. The mission off the field is to bring smiles and hope to kids such as the ones at his camp. "I'm always excited about everybody out here rocking the 58," Davis said with a smile bigger than those worn by the kids. "They know what it means to me, and it means a lot to them to come back and help these kids."
WMAZ, David Newton, May 6, 2017
The Cincinnati Bengal cornerback, Darqueze Dennard made his return to Jeffersonville over the weekend to hos his third annual football camp. About 250 kids attended the clinic at Twiggs County High School where they were able to learn the basic football fundamentals from Dennard and other NFL players. Some of the drills focused on running, spped, passing routes, blocking and much more. Dennard said he will always remember his roots and continue to give back to his community to help the younger kids who want to play football. " You know a lot of people don't make it out from here, it's a very small town and to make it out and to be in the national spotlight and be able to come back and just see it everybody I grew up with who know me, or are associated with me...It's a really good feeling you know it just shows the younger generation and the younger kids that anything is possible no matter where you're from," Dennard said.
The Desert Sun, Andrew L. John, May 13, 2017
James Dockery and D.J. Alexander never had a chance to play with each other during their football careers that stretched from Palm Desert High School to Oregon State and the NFL, but the two close friends hope Saturday is the start of a regular partnership on the football field.That union began Saturday with the two co-hosting a joint combine style camp at Xavier College Preparatory, where Dockery, who played in the NFL from 2011 to 2015, is entering his first year as the Saints' head coach. With temperatures in the low-90s, more than 400 kids from around the Coachella Valley showed up form the seven-hour camp. Instructors took the kids through individual drills that focused on footwork, speed, skill and agility. They used cones, a rope ladder and other field props, and offered the kids a rare opportunity to be coached by current and former NFL players. Alexander, entering his third season with the Kansas City Chiefs, wore his red AFC Pro Bowl hat and a pair of black shades, and he and Dockery joked with kids, ran some of the drills with them, and pulled some aside for specific individual instruction. The event was free of charge, and funded through a number of local sponsors, who helped provide T-shirts representing the event, and snacks and drinks to keep the kids refreshed. Both Dockery and Alexander said they expect the event to grow over the years to provide opportunities for kids that they didn't have while they were growing up here.
Ledger-Inquirer, Jordan D. Hill, May 27, 2017
Cleveland Browns running back Isaiah Crowell's return to Columbus on Saturday showed there's still a lot of locals supporting their homegrown football star. Crowell was on hand at AJ McClung Memorial Stadium for his third annual youth football camp. The camp was a free opportunity for boys ages 8 to 13 to get on the field and go through football drills with guidance from several coaches. Kids wore their complimentary camp t-shirts, which featured Crowell's likeness on the front and his name an jersey number on the back. A few sported eye black which read "Feed the Crow," paying homage to the former Carver Tiger. Well wishers took photos with Crowell and chatted when he returned to the field he electrified so often in high school. . Crowell said free camps weren’t available when he was growing up in the city, which made being part of this special to the 24-year-old. “It’s good to come back,” Crowell said. “I want to give the kids something to experience. Really, I just wanted to come back and give the kids something fun and positive to participate in.” Crowell will get back to work for Cleveland soon enough but was busy taking in the moment Saturday. He walked around as the players warmed up, occasionally shaking hands with a few and making small talk with the sure-to-be starstruck children. Crowell didn’t take his appearance or the camp lightly, explaining the value it can provide. “It’s very important, just so everybody can come out here, play with each other and meet new people in fellowship,” Crowell said. “I feel like it’s important to give back to the community, also. You’ve got to give back to where you came from. I appreciate God for allowing me the opportunity to come back and do something like this. This is what it’s all about.”
The Detroit News, Justin Rogers, June 3, 2017
Detroit — While the Detroit Lions are seeking consecutive playoff appearances for the first time in two decades, veteran safety Don Carey is well on his way to earning his own back-to-back honors. On Saturday, the team's reigning Water Payton Man of the Year nominee for his work in the community, hosted a unique camp for more than 200 local youths, ages 8-17, at Martin Luther King, Jr. High School, two miles down the road from Ford Field. The camp, The camp, which divided its focus between STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics) educational activities and football drills, was attended by nearly 20 of Carey’s teammates, including running back Zach Zenner, rookie cornerback Teez Tabor and defensive end Kerry Hyder. “I’m super excited to see guys willing to give up a Saturday with OTAs and the stress that puts on them learning the playbooks, they’ve taken the time to come inspire a young child,” Carey said. The festivities opened with breakfast, followed by a presentation with live music and guest speakers, including Barrington Irving, who in 2007 became the youngest person and first black person to pilot a solo flight around the world. After the presentation, the youth split into two groups with the younger students hitting the field first, running through a number of drills with Lions players coaching at each station. “My heart is here in Detroit and I love inspiring the children,” Carey said. “I tell people all the time, besides God and my family, putting a smile on a child’s face is my joy.” And while football was the lure, Carey hoped the educational offerings would connect with the campers. He said it’s important to erase the stereotypes that math and science are for nerds and to show the students the opportunities a good education can provide later in life. “I want to tear down some of those mindsets and show them how cool those areas can be,” Carey said. “I want them to, number one, take something from the STEAM activities inside. Secondly, I would like them to talk to the players and get to know the men behind the facemasks.” The man behind Carey’s facemask is one dedicated to making a positive impact in the community, and on Saturday, he was rewarded with the smiles of those he’s so eager to serve.
WJHL, Kane O'Neill, June 3, 2017
KINGSPORT, TN- Kids laced up their football cleats and hit the field at J. Fred Johnson Stadium Saturday morning for the 5th annual Sensabaugh Camp Classic. The camp is headlined by former Dobyns-Bennett Indian, Coty Sensabaugh, who signed with the Pittsburgh Steelers this offseason. His cousin, Gerald Sensabaugh, is also a big part of the camp. Gerald, a former Dallas Cowboy, is the new head football coach at David Crockett. The camp is for kids ages 6-17 trying to improve their skills on the field. It’s a fun day, not just for the kids, but for the Sensabaughs, who are eager to come and give back to a community that has meant so much to them. “It means everything,” said Coty Sensabaugh. “Just putting a smile on these kids faces and coming out here and putting a smile on my own face. It’s just something that we want to do for the community and we just enjoy giving back. It’s just a special atmosphere and I love doing it. I plan on continuing doing it.” “This brings a lot of kids together from everywhere in the Tri-Cities,” said Gerald Sensabaugh. “He does a great job and this is an awesome event. I encourage everybody to come out every year. It’s growing and he’s doing a great job.”
CBS4, June 11, 2017
Broncos safety T.J. Ward hosted his annual kids football camp Saturday morning at a middle school in Denver. Ward’s camp — T.J. Ward Legacy Football Camp — took place at DSST Green Valley Ranch Middle School and was free for boys and girls ages 9 to 14. Ward has been in Denver since 2014, and he says it’s cool to see kids that keep coming back to the camp each year. “I have a ball when I come out here and just interact with the kids — the youth, the future. And you see them grow up every year, it’s my fourth year now. To see kids four years older is astonishing,” Ward said. Ward’s camp is part of the T.J. Ward Foundation, which works to “enhance the lives of young people by supporting programs that provide the tools necessary to empower young men and women in underprivileged communities across the country.”
WNCT, Zach Maskavich, June 10, 2017
GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – Former ECU star wide receiver and current New York Giant, Dwayne Harris returned to Greenville to host his sixth annual youth football camp for kids in the East. Roughly 200 boys and girls came out to Johnson Stadium (home of ECU women’s soccer and women’s lacrosse) to brush up on their football skills. The day started off with Harris coaching up the kids and instilling life lessons upon them. Then the kids broke off into groups to receive more coaching from others, including some current Pirate players. Harris says it’s important to give back to the community, especially to kids so that they learn the lesson of helping others. “It feels great, because you know, when I was here the community gave me so much love and the people supported me so much and when I can come back and give that back to the kids, to the youth and give back to the community, it’s always a great feeling,” said Harris. “Hopefully, when they get to the NFL and they get older and whatever the things that they are doing, I hope they always come back and give back to the community as well.”
WTKR, Mitch Brown, June 17, 2017
NORFOLK, Va. - Energy was as high as the temperature at Powhatan Field during Norfolk native and Atlanta Falcons linebacker LaRoy Reynolds "Dawg House" youth football camp. It was his biggest play since recovering an onside kick in Super Bowl 51. "There's going to be a time where you have to realize the grand scheme of things is bigger than you," said Reynolds. After graduating from Maury high, Reynolds went on to star at the University of Virginia. Among Reynolds supports was fellow Maury alumnus and Seattle Seahawks safety Kam Chancellor. "Most of the time when I was growing up, I didn't get to meet my superstars and shake their hands," said Chancellor. "Just coming out here, and being available for them to see success...I think that's the biggest part and seeing the smiles on their face." LaRoy's getting support from Norfolk to make his big picture, come into fruition. "For all the kids out here, just know they always got a big brother, they always got somebody they can look up to, or Kam...as much as we can do for this entire area, I'm just grateful we can do it."
WTNH, Kels Dayton, June 16, 2017
(WTNH)–Former Windsor High School football star Chris Baker was back in Connecticut on Friday night. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive end held a bowling event to kick off his fourth-annual football camp this weekend. The event took place at Revolutions in Windsor. Proceeds went to the Chris Baker 92 Foundation and the Womens’ Athletic Initiative. Guests got to meet Baker and had a chance to win prizes and gift cards. Baker says he’s passionate about helping his Windsor community. “I always told myself if I had the opportunity as a professional athlete to come back, I’d come back and be a great example for the kids here,” Baker said. “I love to give back.” “We’re very, very proud of Chris,” said Windsor mayor Don Trinks. “He has not let his success and all of the work he did himself, let him forget where he came from.” Baker will hold his 4th annual youth camp tomorrow morning in Windsor. He uses the camp to preach education, community, and respecting your peers.
ProFootballSpot, Breanna Conway, July 25, 2017
On Monday, NFL Play 60 teamed up with Jacksonville Jaguars’ players Sheldon Day and AJ Bouye to put on a football camp for local youth aged 9-13. The camp, held at Englewood High School, features education of rules and techniques of the game and promotes exercise and good character. Both the defensive tackle and the cornerback took part in the activities and opportunity to give back to the Jacksonville community by judging races and speaking to the kids. Day and Bouye took the time to explain to the youth group that football is all about character and technique and inspired them to be involved in excercise activities, while making good decisions off the field. Sheldon Day told First Coast News how important the chance to be at the camp was for him, saying, “Just to give back a little bit of time, just to see the kids smile, have fun and run around, it hits my heart in a special place.”
Berkeley Independent, Rickey Ciapha Dennis, June 28, 2017
Berkeley High School standouts and NFL players Andre and Bruce Ellington hosted their fourth annual Ellington Elite youth football camp at Berkeley High School on Friday. Nearly 1,000 youth ages 6-16 honed their football skills on a humid morning at Moody Field where they zipped through receiver routes, solidified offensive blocking techniques, improved their field footwork and much more. Andre and Bruce Ellington both left legacies at Berkeley and had stellar football careers at Clemson and the University of South Carolina respectively before entering the pros. The former Ellington just re-signed with Arizona Cardinals for his fifth season of pro ball. Bruce Ellington will enter his fourth season with the San Francisco 49ers this year after missing all last season with a torn hamstring. The Cardinal discussed how meaningful it is each year to give back to his hometown. “We’re trying to continue to keep the culture around here, showing the kids [there’s] a way out,” Andre Ellington said. “Sports [are] definitely a tool you can use to get out into the real world.” “It’s been exciting. The kids have been enjoying it. We have been enjoying it.” He brought a few former Tiger teammates to help train the young Stags, as well as give the youngsters people to look up to. “I try to surround them with a lot of guys that are experienced, who went to college, having these guys around, giving them a source to talk to,” Andre Ellington added. Bruce Ellington, a projected slot receiver for the Niners, completed the youth skills sessions alongside the youngsters. He used his personal testimony to inspire the campers to dream big. “Continue to work hard. Keep God first. Whatever you want, you can get. Most people think you can’t get something because they can’t do it,” he told the athletes as they huddled around him.
WITN, Alex Walker, June 24, 2017
GOLDSBORO, NC -- Former Goldsboro High School star and current Seattle Seahawk Jarran Reed held his first youth football camp Saturday. Over 150 kids showed up for the camp to get one-on-one instruction from the Seahawks' defensive tackle. Reed said this camp was something he wanted to do since he got drafted out of Alabama and that it was important to him to come back to his hometown and give back. "The main focus is making sure the kids learn the fundamentals of football," said Reed. "I have been planning this thing for a year and I know my community needs something positive for the kids to do. I thought it would be a good thing for the kids to do something positive during the day and learn the fundamentals of football."
TCPalm, Christina Kaiser, July 13, 2017
FORT PIERCE -- Nearly 200 local children, ages 6-18, attended the Second Annual Albert Wilson Youth Skills Camp, held June 24 at Port St. Lucie High School. All local children were invited to register for the free football camp, but special attention was given to children in foster care -- the Kansas City Chiefs Wide Receiver's way of giving back to his community and helping children who share his own childhood experiences. Wilson and a group of NFL players -- including Buffalo Bills Defensive Tackle Jerel Worthy, Kansas City Chiefs Wide Receiver Chris Conley and Frankie Hammond, wide receiver for the New York Jets -- led groups of children through a series of drills all morning, encouraging them to work hard and achieve harder. "I wanted to get the kids outside, get them exercising and give back to my city," Wilson said in an interview with local television station, WPTV- Channel 5.Wilson, who, at 5-feet, 9-inches, is on the small-but-mighty side for wide receivers, graduated Port St. Lucie High School in 2010 and played college football for Georgia State, where he became the leading receiver in the school's history after recording 175 receptions for 3,190 yards and 23 touchdowns. Wilson was signed by the Kansas City Chiefs in 2014. He finished the 2016 regular season with 31 receptions for 279 yards and two touchdowns and one rushing touchdown, helping the Chiefs finish with a 12-4 record and qualify for the 2016-17 NFL playoffs. The camp was part of a three-day visit to the Treasure Coast by Wilson, who also took time to shoot a public service announcement for 4KIDS of Treasure Coast, one of the four agencies that recruits, trains and licenses foster homes for Devereux Community Based Care.
The Kansas City Star, Josh Tolentino, June 24, 2017
As the sun began to rise, Darrell Stuckey arrived at the football fields of Bishop Ward to set up cones in preparation for his camp, which lasted from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and was attended by about 250 local youths at no cost. “It’s about the collective group of kids and the environment we’re able to cultivate with them being here,” said Stuckey, a former University of Kansas star now with the Los Angeles Chargers. “We want to teach them to compete at a high level without demoralizing their opponent. That ultimately brings out the best competitor.”A fourth-round selection by the Chargers in 2010, Stuckey embraces leadership and sacrifice. He was hands-on throughout the camp, barking out instructions, signing autographs and leading drills. During water breaks, he gave out life advice to kids and interacted with parents. Each camp participant received a T-shirt, a sports bag, a football, a sports bottle, two photos autographed by Stuckey and a free lunch. Among those helping volunteer were Stuckey’s family, friends and former coaches, including Darwin Franklin, his coach at Washington High School. “He (Stuckey) might be big-time now, but this guy will never forget his roots,” said Franklin, who now coaches in Oklahoma City. “Darrell isn’t football, football is just what Darrell does. His humility is what has made him who he is today.” Stuckey’s farewell message was to play the game with love and passion. “Football is a game that’s known to be aggressive, but that doesn’t mean it has to be perfected in anger,” Stuckey said. “It’s hard to stay in control when you’re angry. If you can’t keep your head, there’s no way a kid will be successful playing. We need to introduce and teach the game in a positive way.”
Houston Chronicle, Jenny Dial Creech, June 24, 2017
This week, Michael Thomas is hosting his third camp at Thorne Stadium. In addition to football drills and coaching, participants will go through ACT and SAT prep work, learn about various career opportunities and sit through a town hall meeting. The camp has grown and changed since it began. It's in tune with what is happening with the sport. In the past NFL season, there was a shift. Athletes started to become activists. Most commonly, several (including Thomas) started to kneel during the national anthem. That, Thomas said, was simply a symbol. The action behind it is what matters. One of the actions Thomas has taken is through his football camp. He hopes conversations with the young men who attend can be a positive start.During the town hall meeting Thursday, a 15-year old player from Aldine Davis asked Constable Alan Rosen to tell those in attendance exactly what they should do if pulled over by a police officer. Rosen answered in detail, informing the players that if they started to get worried, they could respectfully ask for a supervisor to be present. Thomas, 27, said when he was a teenager, no one had those types of conversations with him. "Not formally," he said. "If you did something wrong, a coach or your parents might talk to you, but I don't think an adult ever sat me down and told me how to react." Thomas' approach makes a lot of sense. It's not invasive. It's not preachy. It's informative and creates a comfort level in the community. Thomas doing his part Thomas never saw himself as an activist. But after he heard and followed the news about a few young black men whose altercations with police led to their deaths, that changed. "I didn't set out to have a message, but things happened that really made me think," Thomas said. "I thought how I didn't want to just have an opinion; I wanted to do my part to help the problem." That starts in his community, but he hopes to expand it beyond that. In addition to starting conversations about social issues, Thomas puts a major emphasis on education. The Stanford-educated player doesn't just provide common ACT and SAT prep courses for his campers. He also has various professionals come in to talk. He has had programmers and coders, executives and others. In addition to providing guidance on how to pass tests and what careers are available, Thomas spends time teaching the players how to fill out college applications, work on writing essays and look up available scholarships. "I knew when I started this that academics would be a big part of it," Thomas said. "I value my education so much, and I want that for all of these young men." Right now, the camp is just in Aldine. Thomas could see expanding next year into whichever city he is playing. And someday, he'd like to extend that reach. A need to know "These are important things for young men to know," Thomas said. "I'm very fortunate to be where I am, and I want to find ways I can give back." He's off to a great start. Thomas is much more than a football player. And he is doing his part to make sure others can say the same.
WRIC, Chip Brierre, July 1, 2017
RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Quinton Spain, a Petersburg High School graduate, returns home to teach younger, aspiring football players to always work hard while refining skills and techniques. Spain, starting offensive lineman for the Tennessee Titans, went undrafted coming out of West Virginia. He uses this story as a foundation for his message and joins in helping Petersburg High School strengthen the commitment to football in the area with so much talent making up the fabric of the football community.
Gwinnett Daily Post, Collin Huguley, July 15, 2017
On Saturday morning at Buford High School, Gwinnett’s youth football players received the opportunity of a lifetime. Peachtree Ridge graduate and Denver Broncos cornerback Bradley Roby held his first annual NFL skills camp and brought along a large number of his peers to help out as coaches in an effort to show nearly 200 middle and high school football players of Gwinnett that reaching the highest level is possible. “When I was young, I would want NFL guys at my camp,” Roby said. “And to have an opportunity, for free, to go meet some NFL guys and go out and have a good time, I think it was great for the community and for the individuals that came.” In addition to Roby, the coaching staff included former Gwinnett standouts Cincinnati Bengals linebacker Kevin Minter (Peachtree Ridge), Houston Texans cornerback Robert Nelson (North Gwinnett) and Broncos offensive lineman Max Garcia (Norcross). Roby also brought in a few former college teammates from Ohio State and Denver with New Orleans Saints wide receiver Michael Thomas, New York Giants cornerback Eli Apple, and Broncos cornerbacks Brendan Langley and Lorenzo Doss. Players from a wide range of ages and sizes competed at this camp and the hope of the coaches was to show every kid there that hard work could allow them to reach any goal, regardless of how lofty it may seem. “(Having NFL players as coaches) shows these kids that anything is possible,” Nelson said. “As you can see, Bradley and I are not the biggest guys in the NFL but it is about the heart to be the best in the NFL because size doesn’t matter. There are a lot of smaller guys out here and this gives them the courage and motivation, seeing us, to know that they can do the same thing.” The Gwinnett County connection for the coaches such as Roby, Nelson, Minter, and Garcia is the most special one. It has become a great honor for those NFL players to be role models for the kids that may walk the same halls and play on the same fields they did growing up. “It’s huge for these kids to see that guys from around here can make it,” Minter said. “There are so many kids that come out of Gwinnett in every facet. It is good for these kids to see that and it allows them to strive to make it, too.”
Palo Alto Online, Jamey Padojino, July 13, 2017
Green Bay Packers wide receiver Davante Adams is coming back to his old stomping grounds at Palo Alto High School for his second annual Youth Football Camp on Saturday. The daylong event, which was sold-out as of Thursday afternoon, will feature seven-on-seven instruction from Adams himself along with other football players, coaches and trainers. Adams, 24, a member of the Paly Class of 2011, will help young people learn the fundamentals of football, skills and characteristics beneficial not just for a long-term career in sports, but also in life, according to a description on Eventbrite. The inaugural event in 2016 drew in nearly 50 children and teens. The camp is reminiscent of the Paly alum's days that started back in 2002 with the Palo Alto Knights, a youth football team, under coach Mike Piha. Adams helped the team reach the Youth Football National Championships nine times. Piha, is looking to waive the registration fee for young players if they download HitCheck, an app he recently founded that helps athletic professionals screen for signs of concussions with a smartphone.
WZZM, Jamal Spencer, July 8, 2017
Kirk Cousins is back in Holland putting on a youth football camp for elementary and middle school students at Hope College. The camp features another huge turnout as Cousins and other counselors get hands on with football drills and life lessons aimed and helping kids maintain focus. Cousins is maintaining his focus as well as training camp approaches and the clock continues to tick on a deadline. The Redskins have until July 17th to either sign the former Michigan State QB to a long-term deal or let him play the year on the franchise tag for a second straight season, which would pay Cousins nearly $24 million in 2017. The Holland Christian grad says he isn't worried about finances, just winning. "My agent will get it handled, whatever he thinks is best," Cousins said. "The teams knows what they're doing and it'll all work out. The good news is that I'm with Washington this season regardless and can't wait to get started. I want to win, that's all that matters. Stats good, stats bad, let's just win. I'll trade good stats for wins any day so hopefully we can put a lot of wins up this year and do something special."
WRDW, July 15, 2017
Aiken, SC--It's been over a decade now since Dekoda Watson played football for South Aiken. He's had a successful NFL career and has never forgotten who helped him get there. To that end, the culmination of three days of activities today with his football camp. Over 100 kids were on the field learning from the now San Francisco 49er. He was giving them not only on the field lessons, but life lessons as well. Today was the culmination of activities and Watson is a big thinker and wants to make this even bigger! "We'll have more and more events, not just football related. Like I said, we have some things going on with Cabella's where we'll be able to do some archery stuff, camping, and fishing stuff and things like that. So if the kids weren't able to come to the football camp, we'll have something related to outdoor type things. We're also doing a lot of things not only outside, but inside the classroom as well as far as Excelled Excellence" said Dekoda Watson Watson is now a San Francisco 49er as he's looking to make a big impact them this year and do whatever it takes to help them become a winner.
KTBS, Daniel Brown, July 15, 2017
Charcandrick West's journey to the NFL is one that shows despite whatever health issues or lack of exposure you may face, hard work eventually pays off. Saturday, The Kansas City Chiefs running back made a visit back to his old stomping grounds to provide some summer fun. The inaugural 'No Dream is Too Big' youth football camp targeted kids that were once in West's shoes and it was free of charge for all participants. The Cullen, LA native made a name for himself back when North Webster was still known as Springhill High School and on his former practice grounds, the three year NFL vet said he's happy to be an example that younger players can look up to. "Man it's a blessing man to be out here like in my hometown with some hometown people, it's like a big family reunion out here man so to be able to come back out there with my family and friends, some of my teammates and just give back to these kids is amazing," West explained. LSU linebacker Devin White said, "This camp right here was better than other camps that I went to because it means more because it's my hometown. Charcandrick's my cousin so giving back to him and he giving back to the community, you know I'll help out any day so I mean it was a great camp." West added, "You see all the help I got out here. They don't have to be here they can be anywhere in the world right now, but they're out here helping me for free. We're out there doing this, it's no pay and they're out here helping these kids so the city has been behind my back since day one."
WIAT, Chris Breece, July 8, 2017
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT)- Carolina Panthers defensive lineman Mario Addison is a big proponent of giving back to those who helped him get where he is today. Saturday at Carver High School he showed that in a big way. Addison, a graduate of Tarrant City High School, held a youth football camp for nearly 1,00 children in the Birmingham area. “This year I said 400,” Addison said. “We ended up doing 1,000 because last year there were kids who missed an opportunity to come have fun . So I made it 1,000.” Addison is joining up with the Birmingham Housing Authority this year to help kids from low income homes, something he can relate to himself. “I want to show the kids that someone cares,” Addison said. “I grew up in a low income home in the projects and didn’t have much growing up. Me being able to give back means a lot.” Addison’s Carolina teammates James Bradberry (Samford) and Joe Webb (UAB) were among the many NFL players who helped put on the camp.
Los Angeles Sentinel, Amanda Scurlock, July 20, 2017
Jacksonville Jaguars linebacker Hayes Pullard hosted his third annual football camp at Crenshaw High School on Saturday, July 15. Athletes throughout Los Angeles were able to learn from current NFL and college players. “We all talk about leading by example and that’s exactly why I’d rather just bring everybody into one space where you can coach the young kids in football as well as educate them,” Pullard said. “That’s why I bring so many athletes and so many positive young men that took different routes.” Pullard noted how hosting these camps are “a blessing.” Since his first camp, he earned sponsorships with the Lakers Youth Foundation, Westside Shoe Source and other organizations. From his experiences in attending football camps in his youth, Hayes noticed how those types of events were not hosted in the South L.A. area. “Once I got accepted into the NFL, I was like, ‘this is the perfect time, there’s no wait time,’” Pullard said. “Being able to get 300-plus kids every single year, it’s amazing to me.”The camp started off with the youth engaging in various drills to enhance speed and agility. The eager athletes worked on their strength with small medicine ball exercises and battle rope drills. Pullard invited the Lakers Foundation to his first camp in 2015, and the organization wanted to support. “We brought our health and fitness trainers out to show the kids how to work out properly, how to stretch, how to warm up,” said Kiesha Nix, executive director of the Lakers Youth Foundation. “I actually came out as a guest three years ago and I was just really impressed with the commitment, the dedication and the passion of Hayes and all of his friends.” The youth also took part in drills by position, with the pro players conducting offensive and defensive drills. There were also 7-on-7 competitions. Pullard’s camp welcomed both boys and girls to participate in workouts and learn the fundamentals of football. The camp was a homecoming for many of the NFL players who volunteered. For Jaguars linebacker Myles Jack and Rams cornerback Nickell Robey-Coleman, they revel in assisting the youth of their college town. “It’s just fun seeing all these kids out here enjoying playing football,” Jack said. Players like Jaydon Mickens of the Oakland Raiders and Robert Woods of the Rams were cultivated in the CIF City and Southern Section respectively.“I was in the same position they were in growing up in camps with some NFL players.” Woods said. “It’s something that you always remember.” Crenshaw alums like Ajene Harris of USC and UCLA wide receiver Mossi Johnson also helped facilitate the camp.
The Daily Commercial, Zach Dean, July 9, 2017
DELAND — If you ever have a question about the AFC East, running back Mike Gillislee is probably the guy to ask. The former DeLand and Florida Gators star, was in town this weekend for his second annual youth football camp, signed with the New England Patriots in April after spending nearly two years with the Buffalo Bills and Miami Dolphins.“These kids out here, they see Mike as a role model for what can be done,” said DeLand head football coach Steve Allen. “To them, he could be a cousin, a neighbor, a friend of a parent, but he’s a real person. He’s somebody who is real to them. It’s not some far-fetched thing. He comes back here and he’s the real deal and it’s awesome.” More than 200 kids attended Gillislee’s camp on Saturday, which took place at Spec Martin Stadium from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Among the NFL players who were also in attendance were San Francisco 49ers linebacker Ray Ray Armstrong, safety Don Jones and former Gators quarterback Jeff Driskel, who currently backs up Andy Dalton in Cincinnati. The Patriots open training camp on July 27 and will begin their Super Bowl title defense on Sept. 7 against Kansas City. “I’ve come a long way,” Gillislee said. “This has been a long journey but I’ve kept God first, worked hard, and He opened some doors for me. My bar is pretty high right now, but I’m not going to change anything. I come to work every day and work hard, and that’s what I’m going to continue to do. I give 100 percent all the time, and I’m just going to let my play this year do the talking.”
Johnston Sunrise, June 29, 2017
Washington Redskins’ and Rhode Island native Will Blackmon will return home to the Ocean State in July to host his third annual USA Football FUNdamentals clinic for youth. The free, one-day clinic, is Saturday, July 8, 2017 at Warwick’s Bishop Hendricken High – Blackmon’s alma mater. The camp, open to youth 7- to 14-years-old, is designed to introduce youth to football by teaching basic skills in a fun and energetic environment. Free for participants, the camp is supported through a grant from the NFL Foundation. “I love coming back home to Rhode Island. It’s important to me to give back to the community and offer a free football camp for kids who may not otherwise have the opportunity to participate,” Blackmon said. Blackmon, the former All-Stater and All-American at Hendricken and standout at Boston College, is entering his 12th season in the NFL. He has played for the Washington Redskins, Green Bay Packers, Jacksonville Jaguars and earned a Super Bowl ring with the New York Giants. Blackmon’s experienced camp staff will be comprised of many former Rhode Island standouts including Jordan Monk (St. Raphael/North Carolina State), Robert Sewall (Portsmouth/Brown University) and Chancellor Logan (North Kingstown/Georgetown). Several of Blackmon’s former Boston College teammates will also be in attendance. “All my instructors are great role models. I wanted to incorporate coaches who grew up in Rhode Island and went on to have successful careers so that the kids here could relate to them,” said Blackmon. The third annual Will Blackmon FUNdamentals Football Camp will have two sessions. The morning session will be held open to youth 7- to 10-years-old and will be held 9 a.m.-noon. Check-in will be held at 8:15 a.m. The afternoon session will be open to youth 11- to 14-years-old and is slated for 1-4 p.m. Check-in will be held at 12:15 p.m. Space is limited. To register, visit: willblackmonfootball. For more information, contact: firstname.lastname@example.org The third annual Will Blackmon Football Camp is sponsored by USA Football, NFLPA, Nuts ‘N More, BankRI, Gilbane Construction, adidas, New England Sports Training (NEST), O’Leary Law, Bishop Hendricken High School, Elite Wireless, 4 Corners Coffee and Deuce Brand.
CBS Baltimore, July 8, 2017
BALTIMORE (WJZ)– Future NFL players got a real treat Saturday as they attended a free football camp. The coaches for the day included 18 NFL players, including Torrey Smith, and was hosted by Baltimore native Brandon Copeland. It’s a chance of a lifetime for the football loving kids. In North Baltimore, they dealt with the heat of the sun, while being coached by NFL players. The event was the idea of Detroit Lions defensive end Brandon Copeland. “Obviously giving back to the kids is great, coming home to do it is great, and actually getting to see all the familiar faces, former teammates, friends, family members,” Copeland said. The Gilman graduate said he can teach the boys to tackle and hold the ball without fumbling, but there is more to the road to the NFL and the game called life. “If you make it to the NFL, but if we can teach you something you can use tomorrow, you can use when you’re 40, 50,60,70 80, that’s more of what we’re trying to do as a camp,” he said. To make the free camp a success, Brandon got help for 18 of his NFL friends. “You know he’s doing a lot of big things off the field and it’s something that our youth need to be able to look up to and understand, there is more to a guy than being a football player,” said former Raven Torrey Smith. Brandon also said the camp is a chance for the pros to teach kids football skills as well as interact with their role models.
WKYT, June 3, 2017
LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - Wesley Woodyard played four seasons at the University of Kentucky, but he's been giving back to the Lexington community for much longer."That's why I play the game of football," said Woodyard."So that I can use my platform to come back and inspire these kids and help change their lives." Changing lives in the Lexington community is what Tennessee Titans linebacker Wesley Woodyard has been doing for the past six years through his 16Ways Foundation football and cheer camp. "It's cool man, doing work in the city where I played college football in and watching some of these kids grow man," said Woodyard. "We have some kids that have been here for four or five years at a camp. It's just good to see their growth and some of the things we're trying to instill in them." One new addition this year is the glow up 16-ways effect, where campers are asked to write down their goals and dreams. "I've been preaching it this whole weekend," said Woodyard. "Write your goals down. What is it going to take for you to accomplish those goals and who can stop you? Nobody can if you put your mind to it. So it's pretty cool to see some of these kids. We had a kid that said he wants to be a president. Just to see those kids dreaming like that. That's the beginning to seeing beautiful steps in this community." Woodyard, who is entering his tenth season in the NFL and fourth in Tennessee, has his own goals. "Obviously get better on the football field, but just become a better leader," said Woodyard. "A better listener, a better teammate and that's something that I challenge myself every year. Of course getting in those playoffs is going to be the ultimate team goal, and taking it one step at a time."
More players who held camps with support from the NFLPA over the summer include:
- Derrick Morgan
- Breno Giacomini
- Jabaal Sheard
- Nigel Bradham
- Demario Davis
- Mike Adams
- Muhammad Wilkerson
- Justin Bethel
- Bryce Petty
- Laurent Duvernay-Tardiff
- Rodney McLeod
- Robert Nelson
- Will Ghlston
- Caleb Benenoch
- Brandon Graham
- Ron Parker
- Prince Amukamara
- Morgan Burnett
- Eli Harold
- Kyle Fuller
- Lerentee McCray
- TJ Green
- Terron Armstead
- JT Thomas
- Allen Bailey
- Da'Norris Searcy
- Tony Lippett
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