Former NFL Players Host Youth Football Camp in Avon

NBC Universal, Inc.

Football season is right around the corner and some young athletes got a head start by working with former pros at Avon Old Farms. 32 Sports and Bloomfield native Matt Lawrence organized the camp, which welcomed players ages eight to 18.

"With 32 Sports, our promise is to bridge the gap between pro athletes and youth sports," Lawrence said. "So we have five former pro athletes out here working directly with the kids, coaching and inspiring the kids."

The former pros included former Steeler Phil Blackwell, UConn alums Andre Dixon and Marvin Taylor, Courtney Robinson and Lawrence. Dixon spent time with the New York Giants while Taylor and Robinson played for the Eagles. Lawrence, a Bloomfield native, suited up for the Baltimore Ravens and he remembers what it was like being a young football player so it's important to him to help the next generation.

"This was me, you know this was me. I was eight years old trying to figure out if I even liked contact," Lawrence said. "I needed a NFL player to come back and tell me that I'm one in a million, whether I make the NFL or not, you're one in a million and we're going to come out here and compete and try hard and leave it all on the table."

More than 100 athletes showed up for the camp, which allowed them to compete in an NFL-style combine.

"Working with the kids of Connecticut and inspire them, that's the whole thing about this. We can start this football season off right," Lawrence said.

"Connecticut has always had phenomenal talent. We just want to have to be able to have the platform if you have questions, you can ask the questions. We have a special session for the parents. When they have questions, they can get them answered. We have NFL scouts here, we have NCAA scouts, we have NCAA reps that will help parents with how to get into college, what they can look forward to -- just any obstacle they can look forward to, we can have it answered years before they would even encounter them and that's the whole process of this," he continued.

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