ARTESIA — Area football players were able to benefit from both the sports expertise and the advice of a group of former professionals this month during a camp hosted by Premier Flag Football League (PFFL).
The camp was held July 1-2 at the youth football fields at Jaycee Park, with two sessions for ages 6-13 and ages 14-21.
Instructors included NFL veterans Reuben Droughns, a running back with the Lions, Dolphins, Broncos, Browns and Giants; LaVar Arrington, a linebacker for Washington and the Giants; Tatum Bell, a running back for the Broncos and Lions; and Akili Smith, a quarterback with the Bengals, Packers and Buccaneers.
The camp focused primarily on training and conditioning, with the PFFL planning to begin flag football events next year. The group is currently focusing its efforts in New Mexico.
“One of the most important things for me is trying to spread the love of football and improve the game of football, wherever it is,” Droughns said. “Hopefully, we can get more kids into the game.”
Droughns previously spent time hosting camps in Europe in an effort to spread an appreciation for the sport beyond America’s borders. Through the training camps, he says the former pros want to “get these guys in the mindset that they have to work.”
“One of the most important things I would say about football is you don’t get in shape and improve your skills when the game starts,” Droughns said. “You do it before the game. If we can instill that in these kids, they’ll be a lot better off.”
As for his best piece of advice for current and aspiring football players, Droughns went straight to the point: Get off the devices and get outside.
“Work out. Work,” he said. “You’ve got to put in the work. Put the sticks down and get your feet on the ground.”