Revis 'giving back' at camp
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It is a bit ironic that at a football skills camp named for New York Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis, interception returns are not allowed. Though Revis has three career interceptions returned for touchdowns, campers at Aliquippa High School Thursday were instructed to stop play whenever a pass was picked off.
Perhaps it is fitting that the campers ignored those rules -- instituted as a safety measure -- and raced for the end zones after each interception, mirroring the actions of the former Aliquippa star and PIAA champion.
"The biggest phrase I keep saying is, 'Giving back,' " Revis said. "I thought about this years ago, of trying to give back, and now we're here in the future and this is a good cause."
Revis, who was the host for the camp, has not returned to Aliquippa often since winning the 2003 PIAA Class AA championship as a senior, but he remembers the night the Quips retired his No. 2 jersey in October 2008. In doing so, his number joined the likes of three-time Super Bowl champion defensive back Ty Law and three-time Pro Bowl defensive end Sean Gilbert, both of whom joined Revis as coaches at the camp. In all, seven past and present NFL players prowled the sidelines encouraging the youngsters.
"I have great relationships with those guys," Revis said. "It's good to see them support the cause and be involved in it. I appreciate them and give them a lot of respect for coming out here and mingling with the kids."
The camp, put on by ProCamps -- the same outfit which assists Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and coach Mike Tomlin with their camps, was free of charge to all participants, and there were many of them, totalling more than 100 youngsters ages 6-13.
"We didn't turn anyone down," said Frank Murphy, director of ProCamps and a former NFL player. "A hundred kids is a real good job for a first camp, and it was free, so you can never tell for sure who's going to show up."
Revis said he hopes to make this two-day camp, which will conclude with a celebrity basketball game at 6 p.m. Saturday, an annual occurrence. Then again, aside from locking down opposing receivers, the closest thing to an annual occurrence in Revis' life at this point has been his yearly qualms with his contract.
"It'll get worked out sooner or later," Revis said of his latest disagreement with Jets management over his contract. He referred any other questions to management, in particular to Jets general manager Mike Tannenbaum. Though, when asked if he would report to camp on time, Revis admitted, "I don't know."
Quite frankly, the kids at Aliquippa did not care. Neither did Revis' assistant coaches, including his "big brother" Laveraneus Coles, a Pro Bowler and Revis' former teammate.
"I think we enjoy these [camps] more than the kids do," Coles said. "It goes back to the purity of the game. There is no business involved. It's just kids playing football in the sun and between these lines."
Chicago Bears safety Major Wright and Carolina Panthers cornerback Darius Butler also coached at the camp.
First Published June 22, 2012 12:00 am