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Raiders RB Jalen Richard holds his first youth football camp in hometown

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Buffalo Bills v Oakland Raiders Photo by Brian Bahr/Getty Images

Being an NFL player is a prestigious profession, you immediately become admired and a local hero. That is why many of the players set up charitable events to give back to their home communities. Even the lesser known players can make a huge difference to the places they came from when they go back to help out.

Often times, one of the ways that they give back to their neighborhoods is by holding football camps for the kids that are still there. When Jalen Richard was signed as an undrafted free agent for the Oakland Raiders in 2016 he made a promise that he’d be back in two years time to run his own football camp.

True to his word, two years later he just wrapped up his first football camp in his hometown of Alexandria, Louisiana. He even brought some other NFL players to help with fellow Raiders RB DeAndre Washington, Rams OL Jamon Brown, and former Raiders current Cowboys DT Jihad Ward all joining to help in Richard’s inaugural youth football camp.

Going back to the field that he became a star high school football player on, Richard’s camp had more than 300 attendees. He says he always dreamed of having a camp like this when he was growing up and watching other places get these experiences but never Alexandria. Richard knew he wanted to do that for the kids of his old stomping grounds, and he never doubted it’d be a success.

”It means the world to me to bring that to them,” Richard said to LaMar Gafford of Alexandria Town Talk. “A lot of kids don’t get that experience and I never got that experience here. When I was standing on the corner and getting money to go to camps, I would see those guys in those other places going to those camps and getting the experience, but it was never here in Alexandria.

”I always kept that in the back of my mind, and I gave some people my word that in two years, I would do my camp in Alexandria and bring some guys with me. I kept my word and this will be a day that these kids will remember for their lifetimes. Hopefully, the things that we taught them today, football or us talking to them about life or working hard, that they take something from it and apply it.”

It’s an honorable thing to give back to your community, no matter if you are an average Joe or an NFL running back. Fellow Raiders running back Marshawn Lynch has done similar things for years in Oakland. Even when he played most of his stellar career in Seattle he still showed nothing but love for his Town, always giving back to the community that raised him. Seeing what Lynch has been able to do is inspiring, and it hasn’t been lost on Richard.

”It’s always cool picking Marshawn’s brain,” Richard said about his teammate. “It’s crazy how smart he is. He’s one of the smarter football players I’ve known since being in the league. His thought process on certain things is so smooth. He has helped me with my game on and off the field. I’m not just picking his bring on football. He’s a successful businessman and a community advocate for the city of Oakland. Those tools have helped me bring this camp to Alexandria and to be a better man and football player.”

Kudos to Richard for being a great example of what the NFL has to offer the youth of America. It means a lot to show these kids what hard work can accomplish, and to give them the life lessons they will always need. These kids will remember that camp forever.