Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Clinic Offers 'Once-in-a-Lifetime Chance'; Event Allows Area Youths Opportunity to Meet and Play with 44 NFL Players

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Clinic Offers 'Once-in-a-Lifetime Chance'; Event Allows Area Youths Opportunity to Meet and Play with 44 NFL Players

Article excerpt

Byline: ALEX ABRAMS, The Times-Union

Warren Moon was back in action on Saturday morning, wearing a Houston Oilers jersey and looking like he could play a few more seasons.

The former quarterback sprinted across the field, ran a football drill and gave directions like he did so famously during his 23-year professional career.

The difference this time was that Moon wasn't addressing a bunch of NFL veterans. He was talking to a small group of middle-school students, some too young to remember seeing Moon play.

It didn't seem to matter.

Moon was among the 44 NFL players who took part in the NFL Super Bowl XXXIX Youth Clinic at the University of North Florida.

Players representing 20 NFL teams taught football fundamentals and told life lessons to about 3,000 local students from 11-18 years old.

"I think all of the kids, especially a lot of these inner-city kids, [should] get a chance to experience at least some of the Super Bowl festivities," Moon said.

Gathered on the UNF soccer fields -- the same place the Philadelphia Eagles will practice next week in preparation for Super Bowl XXXIX at Alltel Stadium -- NFL players interacted with the students for several hours.

Jaguars quarterback Quinn Gray lobbed passes to a group of students while his teammate Akin Ayodele explained the proper movement of a linebacker's hips while running. Fifteen Jaguars players participated in the clinic.

"I never went to any event like this [as a kid]. I never had an opportunity to really meet any major athletes or football players that I idolized," Ayodele said. "So, it's a great opportunity for [the students] to do something that I didn't do and really get a head start in the game."

In its 17th year, the NFL Super Bowl Youth Clinic was the brainchild of former Miami Dolphins wide receiver Nat Moore, who was in attendance Saturday to watch students run, catch and mingle with some of their favorite NFL heroes. …

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