With OTAs having wrapped up and training camp still a month away, now is the time for the NFL to focus heavily on youth football camps.
On Tuesday, the league announced 350 current and former NFL players and coaches will host free, non-contact youth football camps for more than 80,000 children across America. That will come through the NFL Foundation, the league’s nonprofit organization representing all 32 clubs, which has also awarded $1 million in grants to support youth football camps.
One NFL player taking part in these youth camps is Cincinnati Bengals cornerback William Jackson III, who is hosting a camp in Houston, Texas. Youth camps like Jackson’s will focus on teaching proper technique across varying skill levels and emphasize teamwork and sportsmanship.
"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."
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.
Among the FUNdamentals camp hosts will be Bengals cornerback Darqueze Dennard and quarterback AJ McCarron. Dennard is hosting a camp in Jeffersonville, Georgia. McCarron will host his camp in Mobile, Alabama.
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."
We’ve seen other Bengals hosting football camps this summer, including Dre Kirkpatrick, Tyler Eifert and A.J. Green. Head coach Marvin Lewis also has his own youth camp.
It’s great seeing so many Bengals doing their part in helping coach up future football players.