Former Tampa Bay Buccaneer wide receiver Ed Gant has organized a youth summer football camp in Cleburne County. Gant, with the help of his Uncle Tony Thomas and his wife Danielle, both local residents, are presently conducting signups for the Next Football Legends camp scheduled to take place on June 1, 2, and 3. The cost of the camp is $30.00 and it will be held at Quitman High School and is for grades one through twelve. The Sun Times sat down with Gant on Saturday morning to learn more about the camp, why he decided to organize one for youth in our area, and about the other players participating in the event.
Gant was born in Ft. Meyers Florida on January 24, 1988. He attended Cape Corals High School and studied at the University of North Alabama, he was signed by Arizona in 2009, and by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2011. Gant said he first got the idea for the camp while home in Ft. Meyers Florida, he realized that a lot of kids never get the chance to meet NFL players.
What Gant and other NFL players do is hold camps and "try to inspire kids through athletics". Gant said it’s more of a spiritual growth, and inspirational program and is based more on motivation than athletic ability. He said not only do they hold these camps throughout Florida they also go to schools and do motivational speeches. Gant stresses that they are trying to get the message to kids that life is more than just sports and are trying to prepare them to apply their athletic skills to the game of life. While teaching at the camp the training is put in real-life scenarios so the kids will learn to then apply those skill to real-life situations. He states that many people can learn from the camp not only the youth but the adults as well. It's a community-based program that wants to create a strong community bond.
The elementary and middle school participants will be scheduled in the mornings and its meant to be fun, a chance for the kids to form a bond, create community unity and to network and build new friendships. The high school participants will meet in the evenings and although it will be a more competitive environment it will be no contact as well.
When asked why he brought this program to Cleburne County, Gant replied: "God is working, you never know whose life you may impact". Joining Gant to coach at the NFL camp will be Patrick Ryan, Quarterback, Jeremy Ware, Quarterback, Braylon Mitchell, Wide receiver, Javarris James and Noel Levine both running backs. Gant says there is the possibility that more players will attend the NFL summer camp, that many have expressed interest.
For more information or to register for the camp you may contact Tony Thomas at 501-206-2452 or Danielle Thomas at 501-206-4121.