Jackson Citizen Patriot
On a sunny Wednesday morning, football players huddled around Luther Elliss and Lomas Brown in the middle of Dungy Field, eager to hear advice from the former Detroit Lions players.
The younger players listened carefully and then darted off to their next station, the weight room.
That scene played out on the first day of the first Lomas Brown Player Enhancement camp Wednesday at Jackson High School.
The three-day, all-position camp attracted 110 local players, who began the day by rotating through stations, each one focused on a different skill set. The camp is intended to reach beyond football and help educate players on and off the field, Jackson High School athletic director Russell Davis said.
"This is more than just football," Davis said. "It's an enhancement of all the good things you're supposed to have, including character and proper nutrition."
Each day, campers gather for a "chalk talk," during which a former professional athlete gives advice to the players. Wednesday's talk was delivered by Harlan Huckleby, a former tailback at the University of Michigan who went on to play for the Green Bay Packers.
Camp attendees also will be exposed to better eating habits and NCAA clearinghouse rules, which will show players what ACT scores and grade-point averages are required to attend college.
The idea for the camp was hatched when Jackson High School football coach Jack Fairly ran into Brown at a Detroit Lions practice last fall. Fairly inquired about a possible camp, and it resulted in a perfect fit.
"This is my passion, and everything worked out great with Jackson High and the coaches," Brown said.
"It was almost like a match made in heaven."
Brown, an 18-year veteran of the NFL, played 10 seasons at offensive tackle for the Lions and won a Super Bowl in 2002 with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers before retiring. Brown was named to the NFC Pro Bowl seven times in his career.
The camp continues today and concludes Friday. Campers, who paid $75, range from seventh to 12th grade and come from schools throughout the Jackson area.
"I'm real happy with the turnout," Brown said. "I think we have a great group of guys and coaches."
Players said they appreciated the presence of the former Lions and took notice of their commitment and positive attitude.
"It's great to see these guys set a good example," Gus Pack, a sophomore at Lumen Christi, said. "This is one of the better camps I've been to."
This is the first of four camps that Brown will put on. The other three will take place in Fraser, Auburn Hills and Detroit. Other former Lions players are scheduled to appear at the camp later in the week, including former wide receiver Herman Moore and former kicker Eddie Murray.
"If we can make a difference in a couple of these guys' lives, it's well worth it," Brown said.