A winning combination

Published 6:51 pm Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Terrance Copper (10) during an NFL football game against the Dallas Cowboys Sunday, Aug. 11, 2009, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Ed Zurga)

Throughout the history of sports there have been some great combinations: Stockton and Malone, Montana and Rice, the high fastball followed by a curve in the dirt. However, this weekend Washington will be treated to one of the best pairings the sports world has to offer as Terrance Copper and the NFL have teamed up with the Washington Police and Fire Depts. for a fun-filled weekend that aims to inspire athletes inside and outside the lines of the playing field.
The festivities will begin on Friday night as Copper, a former Washington High School and East Carolina University star wide receiver and current Kansas City Chief, has gathered up some of his NFL friends to play an exhibition basketball game against the WPD and WFD. The contest is free of charge and begins at 7 p.m.
Some of the NFL stars that will be in town this weekend include former ECU standout and current Baltimore Ravens fullback Vonta Leach, a two-time Pro Bowler, along with the Chiefs’ electric RB/WR Dexter McCluster and Copper’s teammate Shaun Draughn, a Tarboro native. Belhaven native C.J. Wilson, who won the Super Bowl with the Packers two years ago, will be in Green Bay for minicamp but will attend the football camp on Saturday if his work/travel schedule allows it.
After the basketball game, Copper and his crew will be back at Washington High the next morning as they will hold a football camp from 8 a.m. to noon free of charge for children ages 7-17-years old. (Registration will be open until Friday and forms can be picked up at the Washington Police Dept. For more information call Kimberly Grimes at 943-1715.) Aside from teaching the fundamentals of the game, the camp will also instruct the athletes on how to properly run the 40-yard dash and other combine-type drills.
“That camp is not going to be a camp where we are just out there trying to look good for the public. That camp will be a real football camp,” Copper said. “If you bring your kids out there to that camp they are really going to learn the fundamentals of the game of football.
“Even now, I’ve been in the NFL for a while and we still work on fundamentals. Every level that you go up in sports everybody ‘s talent is basically the same, but it all comes down to fundamentals. That’s what makes you great and that’s what we are going to be teaching.”
While the hope is that everyone who attends the basketball game and football camp will have a good time, the goal is that by pairing NFL stars with Project Next Step, a WPD program created to help at-risk youth, it can help lead kids in the right direction.
“It’s a chance for everybody to come together and let their hair down a little bit, but it’s aimed at inspiring the kids,” Copper said. “We want to inspire the youth and let them know that anything they can do anything they put their minds too. Anything is possible.”
Copper is living proof of that. At six-feet tall, the former Pam Pack star is not an overly-big receiver in the likes of a Larry Fitzgerald, and while quick, he is not a notorious speedster like Devin Hester. However, what he is, is a guy who is going into his ninth season in the NFL because he dedicated his life to his dream, which at the end of the day is something that he and his friends hope to inspire everyone to do no matter what dream they pursue.
“You’re going to see that when a lot of these guys come in that they are not that big at all, but they have a lot of heart and are smart players. They have great fundamentals,” Copper said. “Your size doesn’t matter. It doesn’t’ matter where you come from or what college you went to. If you put your mind to it and are willing to learn the game of football you can go as far as you want to go.
“And that’s not just about football. That applies to your everyday life. It doesn’t matter what obstacles are in your way if you put your mind to it and focus on what you really want to do with your life.”

Boys & Girls Club to hold NFL Day
The Boys & Girls Club of Beaufort County will be holding its annual NFL Day. The event will be held on Sunday, June 17 at the Boys & Girls Club in Washington. The event starts at 3 p.m. and offers a chance to meet some of the NFL’s finest players and enjoy a cookout co-sponsored by the Washington Fire Department and Washington Police Department.  Washington’s Terrance Copper of the Kansas City Chiefs, Belhaven’s C.J. Wilson of the Green Bay Packers, and Former ECU Pirate Vonta Leach of the Baltimore Ravens will all be in attendance. The event is free to the community.