Pros give backPublished 4:40pm Saturday, June 21, 2014
Washington’s youth learn a thing or two on the field and hardwood
WASHINGTON — Former ECU football legend and professional quarterback David Garrard was in unusual form Saturday morning. Absent were the NFL scouts, thousands of fans and pressure to perform on the field.
Instead, he could be seen guiding lines of kids around cones, encouraging little girls to hit tackle dummies with the upmost force and signing autographs for local fans, alongside a collection of his NFL colleagues, including the Vonta Leach and Jamar Newsome and Pro Weekend organizer and former Pam Pack receiver Terrance Copper, who retired from football this year.
“A lot of kids think I’m so big because I played in the NFL and they’d never get a chance to meet me,” said Copper. “But I like being out here hands on with them, one-on-one, and let them know that I’m just a regular person. I’m from where they’re from.”
After a cookout and autograph session Friday in downtown Washington, which featured live music provided by the David Dixon Band, hundreds of children and parents converged onto Wagner Field 8 a.m. Saturday morning to participate in a series of football drills and draw inspiration from the best in the business.
“Terrance is a great teammate and really good friend of mine,” Garrard said. “Just to come back and help these kids learn, it’s big to me, having a son who’s six and having my own football camp as well.
“These kids, you never know when the next time they’ll be around a professional player like that. I went my whole life all the way until I was in the NFL until I got to meet someone like that. To be able to come back and give back, the kids are really receptive and listen to what you have to say.”
Kids could be seen running agility drills alongside Marvin Townes, attempting offensive line maneuverers with Steven Baker and, the highlight and favorite activity of the camp, sprinting the 40-yard dash, as Copper operated the stopwatch. Some kids even recorded sub-five-second times, including Sharwan Staton, Dequan Lassiter and Pam Pack track star Markel Spencer, who recording a time of 4.6 seconds on grass.
“Us coming here inspires the kids to do something better in life, not just football or whatever sport that they play,” Copper said. “I’m from a small town and I made it. Whatever dreams you have — you can be from a small town — and you can make it. You just have to stay diligent and knowledgeable about what you want to do and stay focused.”
Once the camp wrapped up, kids ate lunch, provided by Zaxby’s, and geared up for another three hours of training with Washington native and Belgian League basketball star Ralph Biggs, European basketball standout Cor-J Cox and Washington Youth Basketball League figurehead John Lampkins.
Copper thanks all of his sponsors, including the NFL who provided a donation to the camp.