Tampa Bay Buccaneers

NFL Helps Players Help Kids

Two Bucs are among 150 NFL players and coaches who have been awarded funds to support their football camps…QB Josh Johnson and LB Angelo Crowell will share in the $550,000 distributed by the NFL Youth Football Fund

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Second-year QB Josh Johnson has been given some assistance for his free youth football camp

Two Bucs are among 150 NFL players and coaches who have been awarded funds to support their football camps…QB Josh Johnson and LB Angelo Crowell will share in the $550,000 distributed by the NFL Youth Football Fund

Players in the National Football League give back to the community in countless ways. One of the most natural is through player-sponsored youth football camps, which teach children the fundamentals of the game as well as the importance of maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

Each offseason, hundreds of players conduct such camps, helping pass on the game of football to the next generation. The NFL recognizes the positive impact of these camps; in fact, this year the league has decided to lend a helping hand.

A big helping hand. Last week, the NFL Youth Football Fund awarded $550,000 to 150 NFL players and coaches to support their free youth football camps. Among those sharing in the grants were two Tampa Bay Buccaneers players, linebacker Angelo Crowell and quarterback Josh Johnson.

Crowell and Johnson are busy trying to carve out their roles with the Buccaneers this offseason, participating in organized team activity days (OTAs) and, soon, a mandatory team mini-camp. But they will also take time this summer to share their football knowledge with kids, and the NFL wants to help.

"As they prepare for the season, our players and coaches also recognize the importance of giving back during the offseason," said NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, who serves on the NFL Youth Football Fund board of directors. "Youth football camps are an excellent way to help young fans learn skills and stay active and fit."

The NFL has long supported players' philanthropic endeavors, and the NFL Youth Football Fund has awarded more than $1.9 million in player and coach camp grants in recent years. This year's awards will help the 150 players and coaches involved reach more than 35,000 youth football players this summer. Among the other NFL players to receive the awards are Indianapolis Colts safety Bob Sanders, Dallas Cowboys tight end Jason Witten, New Orleans Saints running back Reggie Bush and Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson.

"Our players understand the importance of reaching out to young people who play the game of football," said NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith, who also serves on the NFL Youth Football Fund board of directors. "Football camps give our active players, retired players and coaches the opportunity to utilize the lessons they've learned from their own personal experiences to teach youth the fundamentals of our great game."

Established in 1998 by the NFL and the NFL Players Association, the NFL Youth Football Fund seeks to use football as a catalyst to promote positive youth development, support youth and high school football needs nationwide and also ensure the health of grassroots football in future generations. Through the YFF's youth football initiatives and support programs, youngsters are provided with opportunities to learn the game of football, get physically fit and stay involved in productive after-school activities with adult mentors.

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