350 Current and Former NFL Players and Coaches Host Free Youth Football Camps in Local Communities

Posted in: Foundation News, Foundation Partners, Youth Football

As part of summer camp season festivities, 350 current and former NFL players and coaches will host free, non-contact youth football camps for more than 80,000 children, it was announced today. The NFL Foundation, the NFL's nonprofit organization representing all 32 clubs, has awarded $1 million in grants to support youth football camps. Kids can Play Football all summer through additional NFL Foundation-funded camps and events hosted by Clubs and NFL partners such as USA Football.  

The Youth Football Camp Grant Program, in its 20th year, recognizes NFL players and coaches who give back to communities in their hometowns or club markets and offer young athletes the opportunity to play in a healthy and fun environment. Camps are hosted throughout the country and focus on teaching proper technique across varying skill levels and emphasize teamwork and sportsmanship.

NFL Foundation grant recipients hosting camps this summer include: Buffalo Bills linebacker LORENZO ALEXANDER; Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback BLAKE BORTLES; Green Bay Packers wide receiver RANDALL COBB; Carolina Panthers linebacker THOMAS DAVIS; Kansas City Chiefs safety ERIC BERRY;NFL Legend GREG JENNINGS;Denver Broncos linebacker SHANE RAY;Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver TORREY SMITH;and Pittsburgh Steelers headcoach MIKE TOMLIN. 

"The NFL is proud to support current and former NFL players and coaches as they give back to their communities and expand opportunities for children to play football and have fun," said NFL Commissioner ROGER GOODELL. "This summer, thousands of children will attend these free camps and learn the fundamentals of football directly from members of the NFL family who are outstanding role models both on and off the field."

"My parents taught me from a young age to think about others' needs in addition to our own. That's why holding youth camps is so important to me and why we do it each year," said Kansas City Chiefs safety ERIC BERRY, who is hosting his third NFL Foundation-funded youth football camp. "By hosting these youth camps, I hope to take some of the burden away from these kids' parents while offering them the opportunity to get out here and have some fun. I'm honored to have the ability to give back to the communities that have given me so much along the way."

200 of the camp grant recipients are working with USA Football to host FUNdamentals Camps this summer, which introduce young athletes to football by teaching basic skills. All drills at FUNdamentals camps are based on USA Football's Player Progression Development Model, ensuring participants learn in an age-appropriate manner.

"The team nature of the military and sports hold distinct similarities – both can foster exceptional character and inspire extraordinary achievement," said Retired Army General RAYMOND ODIERNO, chairman of USA Football, who served as the 38th Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army from 2011-15. "Playing football afforded me these qualities and USA Football's FUNdamentals camps, made possible through the NFL Foundation, deliver this to thousands of kids today. Our fun and forward-thinking programs open doors to fitness, friendships and life-enriching values that last a lifetime."

First-time coaches at camps funded through the NFL Foundation must complete an online Coach Smart course with instruction on player health and safety fundamentals, including preventing, recognizing and responding to dehydration and overheating, concussion and sudden cardiac arrest.

The NFL has long supported players' philanthropic endeavors and the NFL Foundation has awarded more than $7 million in grants to support free, non-contact youth football camps hosted by current and former players and coaches since 1998.

For a full list of 2017 NFL Foundation Youth Football Camp Grant Recipients click here.

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About the NFL Foundation: The National Football League Foundation is a non-profit organization dedicated to improving the lives of those touched by the game of football – from players at all levels to communities across the country. The NFL Foundation represents the 32 NFL clubs and supports the health, safety and wellness of athletes, youth football, and the communities that support our game. For more information on The NFL Foundation, visit: www.NFLFoundation.org

About USA Football:  USA Football designs and delivers premier educational, developmental and competitive programs to advance and grow the sport. As the sport's national governing body, member of the U.S. Olympic Committee and organizer of the U.S. National Team for international competition, USA Football partners with leaders in medicine, child advocacy and athletics to support positive football experiences for youth, high school and other amateur players. Follow USA Football on Facebook or on Twitter.

About Play Football: Play Football is a year-round initiative celebrating youth and high school football. Play Football works to shape the football experience, advocate for safety, promote football values and connect football communities.  For more information, featured football stories, best practices and resources aimed to create a positive playing experience, please visit PlayFootball.com or follow @NFLPlayFootball. Join the conversation on social media using #LetsPlayFootball.