Titans Pro Bowl Running Back Hosts Inaugural Youth Camp

 

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Fresh off a Pro Bowl rookie season, Titans running back Chris Johnson recently hosted his inaugural Old Spice Chris Johnson Football Camp. The three day youth football camp was held at Pope John Paul II High School in Hendersonville, Tenn, and was open to boys and girls ages 7-14.

The camp was split into sessions according to age and each day the campers experienced a variety of drills specializing in fundamental and advanced football skills. The drills were led by Nashville area coaches including Tony Brunetti of Pearl Cohn and Ralph Thompson of Maplewood.

Johnson was extremely excited about the turnout and support of the participants and their families. Entering his second pro season, Johnson has shown an affinity for working in the Nashville community and looks forward to making his camp an annual event.

"It means a lot to have my first football camp having never been fortunate enough to attend one growing up," said Johnson. "Having my own camp means I'm able to give back to the community and do my part to help out the kids from around the area. I want the kids to come out here and have fun. I want them to know it's possible for them to follow their dreams and have their dreams come true."

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Johnson also hosted a very special guest at the camp courtesy of a camp sponsor, the Hatton Foundation.  Markeise Stroud, age 13 and his mother and sister all attended the camp as special guests.  Stroud was able to play one-on-one catch with Johnson in addition to taking hand-offs from the All-Pro.

"I really liked getting to throw the football with Chris," said Stroud before enjoying a private lunch with Johnson. "It was just great to hang out with him, talk to him and do little drills with them. It was an awesome day."

Markeise was diagnosed with Hodgkin's lymphoma in April, 2008 and is now in remission. He was recently named the 2009 Boy of the Year by the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.

Many parents and guests watched while campers participated in several drills, stations, and skill contests that encouraged teamwork and dedication to the sport. Some of Johnson's teammates, including defensive tackle Kevin Vickerson, were on hand to help with live scrimmages where teams played real touch football games. Johnson made a point to give encouragement and praise highlighting the finer points of the game of football and beyond.

 

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"It's really awesome to get to see Chris Johnson," said Michael Austin Capps, a seventh grader at Hawkins Middle School. "I'm having so much fun and learning a lot."

The hundreds of kids in attendance each day are a testament to the level of excitement Johnson has brought to Titans fans on the field and in the Nashville community. Already, he has participated in back-to-school events, holiday shopping sprees and other Titans community initiatives. For Johnson, the service comes along with being a member of the Titans.

"We have so many community-oriented guys on the team and I just want to follow in that mold," said Johnson. "For all of the children to support us on Sundays, and then I get to interact with them, play with them and show that support back during my camp is really special."

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