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Marvin Lewis focused on teaching fundamentals at 9th annual youth football camp

The Bengals’ head coach did his part to help teach the next generation of football stars.

The NFL offseason is a time for players and coaches alike to step back from playing, re-adjust to the world, and make an impact in their communities. For Cincinnati Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis, that means putting on an annual football camp for local kids, coaching them both to be great football players and great people.

“It’s really a great opportunity for us to bring young people here to Paul Brown Stadium. To teach them the skills of football, but also lessons for life,” Lewis said at Monday’s camp, which Cincy Jungle attended. “We talk a lot about education, what’s important, how you want to be a great student in school, and how important that is.”

Throughout the entire NFL season, Lewis spends his time coaching and working with Bengals players, doing his best to mold them into better players and better people. Part of that is getting them involved in community events like Monday’s camp, to which he invited all of the offensive rookies.

Joe Mixon throws the football with a camper during drills

“It’s fun. Tonight, we have our offensive rookie players out here, and and the offensive coaches giving a little instruction,” Lewis said. “So, it’s really good.”

Throughout the camp, many of the younger offensive players could be found throwing the football, doing drills, and interacting with the young campers. It is the kind of experience that helps the newer Bengals connect with the Cincinnati community, while having fun and guiding the campers in the process.

Bengals rookies participate in team building drill

“It’s fun for them. You can see them having enjoyment being out here,” Lewis said. “Many of them participated in football camps as they were growing up. A lot of them started playing football when they were six years old.”

Having fun and interacting with the community is a big part of what makes this camp special, but it can also teach the Bengals players valuable lessons about their own development. A big focus for Lewis is the development of the players and campers as people and members of the community, but from a football perspective he is focused on one particular area.

“What we’re doing is we’re teaching the fundamentals of football,” Lewis said. “That’s what football is all about. Whenever you’re coaching football, you never assume. It always starts with the fundamentals.”

Mason Schreck lines up to snap the ball with a camper

A player with average talent and great fundamentals is better suited to last longer than a player with great talent and average fundamentals. That is the key lesson Lewis wanted to send kids home with, and likewise, instill in his rookies as they prepare for minicamp in Cincinnati.

For the kids, getting involved is as simple as finding an internet connection and following Lewis’ advice:

“They get involved through Marvinlewis.org,” Lewis said. “They can sign up on our website, through the Marvin Lewis community fund, and get an opportunity to come here to camp.”

The camp is an excellent opportunity for local children looking to learn how to get started as a football player and become a well-rounded person. Originally established in 2008, hundreds of local children have developed a love for learning and the fundamentals of football through the camp. Perhaps, one day, one of these children will sign a contract with the Bengals as a result of the early skills they learned.