LOS ANGELES-Some talk about it and some do it. Hayes Pullard, one of newest linebackers drafted by Cleveland Browns, put on his annual free football camp over the weekend. Pullard was live and personal at his old stopping grounds the nice turf of Crenshaw High School with a full field of campers and coaches. It’s such a great feeling to see our African American young men giving back to the community that first gave to them.
The camp was open for all kids ages 5-17. The first 300 kids got into the camp free. The parents were allowed to stay and watch their kids from the stands. They had lunch provided for all the campers with hydration stations with Body Armor sports drink. Each kid received a camp T-shirt with the No. 10 on the back, and word “GUSTO” on them. Hayes told campers, “grind until success triumphs odds!”
The athletes were divided into groups based on their position and age. They learned new skills, to improve their current athletic abilities, and were coached on the importance of leadership, teamwork, and education.
The running backs had Silas Redd of the Washington Redskins. The wide receivers had Robert Woods of the Buffalo Bills, Marquise Lee of the Jacksonville Jaguars, and Paul Richardson of the Seattle Seahawks. The defensive backs had Dion Bailey of the Seattle Seahawks. The quarterbacks got tips from current Trojans quarterback Cody Kessler, and host of others great football minds.
Pullard was the USC Trojans leading tackler last year with 95 tackles and 53 solo tackles before being drafted by the Browns. As he prepares for his first training camp coming up in few weeks some would ask why host a camp now.
“I’m doing two things I love football and give back to my community,” Pullard said. “Some might wonder why are you having this camp before you played a down in NFL. I made up in my mind if I got drafted by any team I was going to do a camp for the kids.”
These camps, and moments the college/pro athletes share with the youth is so huge. I know all of us had the special moment when words of encouragement gave us something to hold onto and make us grind. Today at the Hayes Pullard 1st Annual Football Camp had up and coming Pac-12 Conference All- Americans, high school football champions and more.
Next up will be the Browns training camp for Pullard.
“I went to USC to fulfill my father’s dream,” Pullard said. “I got my degree to fulfill my mother’s dream. And now I’m writing this letter to you to fulfill my dream.” (quote from open letter to NFL).