NEWPORT NEWS (WAVY) – Hundreds of high school football player, representing programs from all over Hampton Roads, and even a few from North Carolina, showed up for the 22nd Hampton Roads Youth Foundation All-Star football camp.
All the youngsters on hand were getting some top-notch coaching from a few local NFL names, including Arizona Cardinals safety Antoine Bethea and Kansas City Chiefs rookie defensive tackle Derrick Nnadi.
Bethea is home-grown from Newpor News (Denbigh High School), while Nnadi played his high school ball in Virginia Beach (Ocean Lakes), and both are more than happy to provide mentorship. “When I was this age, I was doing the same thing,” said Bethea, who’s heading into his 12th NFL season.
“Just being able to come out here with these young men and let them see me, touch me and just give them that sense of it’s a possibility to come out of the 757 and achieve your dream.”
More than two decades are in the books, and the foundation’s co-founders, Carl Francis and Vernon Lee, are still providing both a football and a community service.
“The key to success is not necessarily being the best athlete, but being a great person,” said Francis, also the director of communications for the NFL Players Association.
“I hope one day a player from this camp will tap me on the shoulder and say, ‘Mr. Francis, I would like to carry on the tradition of this camp for years to come.”