A surprising face was present at Cincinnati Bengals cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick’s youth football camp on Saturday.
A.J. Green was there, but, his presence wasn’t all that surprising as Kirkpatrick’s teammate. No, it was Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown, who was surprisingly present and making kids smile at Kirkpatrick’s camp.
The event, which was at full capacity with more than 300 kids, took place at Kirkpatrick’s high school football field, Titan Stadium in Gadsden, Alabama.
“Those guys could be doing a million things right now, but they are sacrificing by taking time out of their busy schedules to make my day special,” Kirkpatrick told the Gasden Times of Green and Brown attending his camp.
Kirkpatrick and Brown have matched up many times on the field—with Kirkpatrick even getting the better of Brown on many occasions—but this weekend, they were united and helping hundreds of young kids learn the game of football.
“Me and him (Brown) have had fist fights and all types of stuff. He just aggravates me on the field; he gets under my skin,” Kirkpatrick said in a Q&A with the Gasden Times. “He knows what he’s doing. But off the field, he’s a true competitor and he’s my friend. We hang out. We train together. But at the end of the day, that guy is a beast.”
I want to give a HUGE thank you to @ab & @ajgreen_18 for blessing my camp with there presence and great energy. With the rain storm and planes getting delayed I was a lil nervous, but you guys came thru and I appreciate that. Also thank you Gadsden City High and my amazing staff for helping and encouraging the kids through out the camp. #whodey
Last year’s camp was held in Cincinnati, but this year, Kirkpatrick held the camp in his hometown. And, he was able to bring along his Pro Bowl receiver friends with him.
“I know those kids are going to be fired up,” Kirkpatrick said. “I got a lot of feedback from last year of not having the camp (in Gadsden). Not negative, just people wondering was I ever going to do it again or if I was going to do the camp next year.”
This year, instead of talk about the camp’s location, the focus was more on rivals uniting for a greater good and showing they can leave their hatred on the football field.
“I got a lot of talk on my Instagram about it, kids joking with me,” said Kirkpatrick, laughing of having Brown, a top rival, at the camp. “Some people were amazed to see that we are actually cool and we actually get along. So I definitely owe him one.”
And it's a really well run camp, Dre. Yours is always one of the easiest to cover. pic.twitter.com/JkC80MUwLt— Scott Forester (@scott4ester) June 26, 2017
Beyond fun on the field, Kirkpatrick also spoke to participants at his camp about healthy living and staying active.
“I speak health to the youth nowadays because everything is digital and technology,” Kirkpatrick said. “You don’t really see a lot of kids out playing around anymore. So my thing is to get the kids out and interact with their families.”
Kirkpatrick certainly did that and more on Saturday and put on a great day for those in attendance. It’s also nice to see Bengals and Steelers players can put their rivalry on hold during the offseason and help each other out for a good cause.