VIDEO: Former NFL Pros Give Back With Free Camp

TUPELO, Miss. (WCBI) — Former Green Bay Packer Eric Matthews was joined by many other former NFL professionals to hold their inaugural football camp at Ballard Park in Tupelo.

“We want to give these kids an opportunity to get outside and that’s something that you need to do”, said Matthews, “Get back outside and be active and find an outlet.

“A lot of these kids don’t have outlets and that’s what we do. We try to give them an outlet. It’s not just about football. It’s about teaching them sportsmanship, the fellowshipp, and just hard work and that’s what this camp is all about.”

The Eric Matthews teamed up with the Sky’s The Limit Ministry in Tupelo, which helped organize the camp and provide it for free for all 40 campers.

Organizer Anthony Mitchell hopes the camp becomes an annual event, and thanks the Tupelo Quality of Life Committee, Tupelo Parks and Recreation, United States Army and Air Force along with “a lot of other branches” to help make the camp possible.

Former Mississippi State offensive lineman and Buffalo Bill Robert Otis Hicks, Jr. was a coach at the camp Saturday, and said he loves the opportunity to give back.

“I work with kids all the time”, said Hicks, “I’ve been doing it ever since I retired in [2005]. This is about a passion of mind, something that I love to do and something I think I’m great at.”

Hicks was joined by other former pros to give back their football knowledge to the up-and-coming football players.

“…these kids, they hardly get to see or interact with NFL players…”, said former Troy University standout and San Diego Charger outside linebacker Brandon Lang, “…to be able to come out here, and see the smiles,  and see their eyes when they see a big guy, it’s breathtaking. It’s a lifetime opportunity for these kids to come out here and soak up this knowledge from us.”

“It’s a blessing to be able to have as much knowledge as we gained and obtained throughout our careers”, said two-time Super Bowl champion safety with the Pittsburgh Steelers and Green Bay Packers Anthony Smith, “It’s just a blessing to be able to give it to the next generation, and help them grow and development and become good people, not just good football players.”

One of the common takeaways from the camp was to give the campers an outlet, and to let them interact with professionals and men that the future football players look up to.

“These kids need positive role models”, said former Mississippi State wide receiver Cameron Floyd, “…it’s going to mean lot to these kids, to look up to people.

“We need role models. That’s exactly why we’re here…”

Categories: Local Sports, Sports

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