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Pro Bowl receiver inspires smiles, fun at Fort Lee

By COURT WILLS, Staff Writer
Original Article: http://www.progress-index.com/article/20150326/SPORTS/150329656/?Start=1


The smiles were big and bright as Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Steve Smith Sr. was welcomed by 150 children at Williams Field at Fort Lee on Thursday.

Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Steve Smith Sr., center, is seen with local youth football players and coaches during a camp Thursday at Fort Lee. COURT WILLS/PROGRESS-INDEX PHOTOS

Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Steve Smith Sr., center, is seen with local youth football players and coaches during a camp Thursday at Fort Lee. COURT WILLS/PROGRESS-INDEX PHOTOS

FORT LEE — The smiles were big and bright as Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Steve Smith Sr. was welcomed by 150 children at Williams Field at Fort Lee on Thursday evening for the Proctor & Gamble Steve Smith Football Pro camp.

Smith, a five-time Pro Bowler, three-time All-Pro athlete and is one of the best wide receivers in the National Football League. He was picked in the third round of the 2001 draft by the Carolina Panthers where he is the all-time leader in total touchdowns in 67, in receptions with 836 and receiving yards with 12,197. The wide receiver then signed with the Baltimore Ravens in March of 2014 where he amassed 79 receptions for 1,065 yards and six touchdowns.

The 14-year veteran is a proud partner with Proctor & Gamble that helps bring football camps to the youth of the military community.

“Proctor & Gamble is really proud to a part of this great event and to be able to work with Steve. Steve is just an amazing person who is committed person and dad and goes out of his way to do things like this,” said External Relations Manager Aileen Slocum Musselwhite. “He wants to be here, it’s his passion to work with these kids. He’s authentic person who cares for people, he’s our shining star in the NFL.”

Smith has been a longtime supporter of the military and their families so when the opportunity arose for him to be a part of this organization and participate in these youth football camps, it’s something that he holds dear to his heart.

“We need to serve the people that serve us. These people put their lives on the line and it’s the least that I can do,” Smith Sr. said. “In this moment time stops for them at Fort Lee and I get to be a part of that and I look forward to that. I got my cleats on so I’m ready to go and I’m ready to go at it with them.”

As Smith addressed the campers, he made it a point for them to have fun but to also a place where they get to learn about the game of football and the values of sportsmanship and teamwork.

Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Steve Smith Sr. signs footballs and other memorabilia for young athletes attending his camp Thursday at Fort Lee.

Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Steve Smith Sr. signs footballs and other memorabilia for young athletes attending his camp Thursday at Fort Lee.

Various coaches within the local communities surrounding Fort Lee came to help Smith with the camp including Petersburg football coach Josh Wallace who was in charge of his own little station. The campers who ranged in age from kindergarten to the eighth grade went from station to station where they learned different aspects of the game.

Parents and members of the communities got to watch from the stands and along the track as they got to participate in the various activities.

“It’s a great opportunity for these kids. I know these kids just like me looked up to players and so if I was a kid I would like to meet a player because I believe you can affect that household, they can touch you and hang out with you and just get to be a kid, that’s what it’s all about,” Smith said.

One of the main reasons Smith enjoys doing these camps is because of the respect and honor he has for the military and for their families.

“There are a lot of guys that honor the military. This is my sixth camp and my second here in Virginia and I think there should be less about what we’re not doing instead of what we are doing,” Smith said. “The impression that I would hope to leave is for them to say that when I was there at Fort Lee Virginia we had the opportunity to play football and to pause and just be a kid.”