Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Chalk Talk with the Pros Event Offers 'Class' in Football

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Chalk Talk with the Pros Event Offers 'Class' in Football

Article excerpt

Byline: RYAN REAVES

Jacksonville Jaguars fans got a rare opportunity on a recent Tuesday night to interact with players and sports personalities at Sneakers Sports Grille on Baymeadows Road.

Robin Valetutto of WZNZ (1460 AM)'s Inside the Game and Jaguars wide receiver Ernest Wilford hosted the annual Chalk Talk With the Pros For Women, giving female fans insight into the game in hopes of opening up the sport to new fans.

"Any time you have an opportunity to talk about something that you love and do on a regular basis, [it] just feels great," said Wilford. "These women came out here supporting the Jaguars and wanted to learn more about football."

Wilford joined fellow Jaguars Quinn Gray and Khalif Barnes in answering questions about different aspects and experiences of the game.

"There are a lot of women out there who don't understand football, and there are a lot of things a lot of people don't understand about the NFL," said former Jaguars kicker Mike Hollis, just one of several retired NFL players - including Damon Jones, Jeff Smith, Eugene Chung, Chris Brewer and more - who signed autographs and mingled with fans.

Former Florida Gator Chris Leak even surprised fans as one of the players participating in the event.

"I'm here to meet and greet as many people as possible and have a good time," Leak said. "Football brings everybody together, that's why it's such a great sport."

Other than sports, the common interests of the evening were young people and education. The NFL Retired Players Association hopes to raise $60,000 in scholarship money for disadvantaged youths. David Kossak of the Kossak Cos. presented a $10,000 check to the association.

"There are a lot more NFL alumni in the city than present tonight," Kossak said. "I want to show my support and thanks for those here."

Along with enlightening new fans with the X's and O's, Wilford also talked about his journey to the gridiron. …

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