Going out and being active in the community has always meant a lot to me. Especially when it comes to the military communities and their kids-- That’s something I hold pretty dear to my heart. So I made sure this off-season, like others, I scheduled a few trips to visit the troops and their families.
I was blessed to have hosted a camp recently for about 150 kids at Tyndall Air Force Base, which is located just outside Panama City, Florida. It’s always fun working with the kids. Growing up in the military, the kids know and understand the hard work and discipline needed to be successful and football has a similar mentality. I really enjoy giving kids the opportunity to do things a lot of kids don’t get to experience in life. It wasn’t something I was able to do growing up, so I’m sure being a part of this is a blast for them.
I just want them to have fun, catch a few passes and enjoy the day. We teach them a few different drills, like the proper way to take a hand off or how to defend a wide receiver. We even go over play action and the correct way to run a passing route.
In April I got to take part in another camp for military kids at Yokosuka Naval Base in Japan. Kids overseas are not as exposed to this as most kids, especially kids in the States. Military kids are extra special. They can’t just wake up in the morning and be like, ‘Oh snap, football is on. Dad, can we go to a game?’
They have to get up at 3 or 8 in the morning just to watch a game.
Getting to hang out with them and talk with them can really put things into perspective for you. They like to tell me what going through drills with me means to them, but they don’t realize what being able to be there for them means to me.
I often hear how a laugh or a smile, a joke, or a handshake, whatever it may be from someone of my status or any other football player's status can make someone's day. I've had people say, 'You've made my year.’
Being able to have that impact and influence on somebody is really important to me and makes me feel like I’ve accomplished something real.