Getting kids active is one of the most important issues for the NFL. So the day before some of the brightest stars in college football made the leap to the pros, they were working out with Chicago school kids
Before the NFL Draft last week, 25 potential first-round picks hit the field with local students at the NFL’s annual Play 60 program last week.
To emphasize the program’s mission — encourage children to be active for 60 minutes a day — Play 60 event organizers designed a youth football clinic at Chicago’s Grant Park. One hundred kids were divided into six stations, each with a different drill, with different NFL prospects helping out. Some of the stations included throwing and catching with the quarterbacks, blocking with the linemen, and running through obstacles.
Players like quarterback Carson Wentz and running back Ezekiel Elliot were among the participating prospects. But they weren’t there just to make an appearance. They offered support, too. When a student made an impressive reception on one of Cal quarterback Jared Goff’s throws, Goff shouted, “Oh, great catch!”
After an hour of playtime, the kids gathered in the center of the field where they heard from NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and Florida State cornerback Jalen Ramsey (who was selected the next day by the Jacksonville Jaguars).
Both Goodell and Ramsey stressed the importance of physical activity. But the event was about eating healthy, too. “Eat your vegetables!” Ramsey urged.
Before the event ended, players shared a glimpse into their pre-game snack and how they stayed active as kids.
Alabama Crimson Tide defensive tackle A’Shawn Robinson — now a Detroit Lion — noshes on beef jerky before he steps onto the field. Goff, selected by the Los Angeles Rams with the top overall pick, said he enjoyed dodgeball as a child.
As the NFL attempts to expand the pro football market, the league wants to spread Play 60’s message too. “Wherever we play football, we will have Play 60,” Goodell said.
Photos: Kiichiro Sato/AP (event), Alan Cole (Carson Wentz, A’Shawn Robinson)