Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Local Sports

July 27, 2012

Former pros instruct local players

PRINCETON — Around 50 young football players had the NFL experience Friday, when the NFL Gridiron Legacy clinic opened at Princeton’s Hunnicutt Field.

Led by former Washington Redskins wide receiver Gary Clark, Friday’s session was for middle school and high school gridiron players.

McKinley Hearns, an eighth grade student at Bluefield Middle School said he had a great time.

“I really enjoyed he camp, working with Coach Gary (Clark). He taught us a lot about football that I didn’t know. It was really good and I really enjoyed it.”

Princeton High’s Brett Carroll wishes he were not a senior.

“The camp was really good and they taught us a lot,” Carroll said. “I would really enjoy it if they came back, but I’m graduating this year, so I won’t get to see them next year. Overall the camp was one of the best that I’ve ever been to.”

Kwame Payne is a junior lineman at Princeton.

“It was nice to work with Coach Simmons,” Payne said. “He taught me things I thought I already knew, but I didn’t. It’s nice to learn from somebody that’s been in the Super Bowl, to teach you stuff that you thought you knew, but didn’t.”

Clark was impressed with Friday’s session.

“The kids were great to work with,” Clark said. “It’s probably the best clinic we’ve had in 2012 in terms of how the kids came out and worked. A lot of kids, sometimes they dog it a little bit until they get things going, but these kids, right off the bat were finishing through the line, just doing exactly what we asked of them.”

Clark liked what he saw once the drills began.

“What I saw from these kids are the things it takes to play college football and then go on to the NFL, and that’s focus. All these kids were focused,” Clark said. “They did exactly what we asked them to do. Nobody gave up whatsoever. They played through the pain because we worked their butts pretty hard.

“I was so impressed with the talent that’s here in West Virginia. I spend a lot of time in Martinsburg, but I’ve never really spent a lot of time here in Princeton and I was impressed by all the players and the facility we’ve got to practice on.”

Clark said he hopes to leave the players with the tools that can help them develop into football players and said he would have cherished the opportunity when he was younger to receive instruction from former NFL players.

“If I would have been able to have Lynn Swann, Ahmad Rashad, Sammy White, just different guys who were great receivers, I would have been probably a much better receiver earlier on in my career because football is a game of knowledge, of repetition.”

While Friday’s session was for middle school and high school players, today’s clinic will cater to those youngest players.

— Contact Bob Redd at bredd@bdtonline.com

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