Seahawks’ K.J. Wright Teaches Kids Football Fundamentals at Centralia Football Camp
By Matt Baide
About 200 kids came out to the Northwest Sports Hub on Saturday afternoon for a Centralia football camp, with Seattle Seahawks linebacker K.J. Wright as a special guest to help pass on some football knowledge to the participants.
The camp was for kids in eighth grade and younger, and were taught fundamentals of football through various Centralia coaches, players and volunteers who helped make the camp happen.
“I’m happy we reached our goal, I’m happy these kids are having a great time,” Centralia High School Football coach Jeremy Thibault said.
Wright brought some friends to help out as well, including former Seahawks linebacker Mike Morgan, trainer Tracy Ford, Seattle radio personality Gee Scott and his son, Gee Scott Jr., and the Seahawks’ DJ were all in attendance to teach the game of football.
“Overall camp was great. I believe the kids had a great time. I did myself, they learned a lot of fundamental stuff from O-line to receivers to DB drills so it was an all around camp to improve their fundamentals once the real football stuff happens,” Wright said.
Wright has been playing for the Seahawks since he was drafted in the fourth round of the 2011 NFL draft and was a part of the Super Bowl Championship team in 2014.
Although he’s been in the Northwest for a while with the Seahawks, this was Wright’s first trip to the Twin Cities.
“It’s cool, it’s a good city, some good people. I can tell just the culture and the whole city came out which I really appreciate,” Wright said. “I enjoyed myself and I will definitely be back, probably check this football team out on Friday nights.”
These camps are a big way to help grow the game, and can help inspire some of the youth throughout Lewis County, as well as throughout the Northwest, with kids attending the camp from as far away as Richland, Lake Oswego and Bellingham.
“Get kids excited about football. I think there’s a lot of negativity about football right now with concussions and stuff. If a kid can take one positive thing and learn one thing here today, we’ve reached our goal,” Thibault said. “Plus they get to meet somebody like K.J. Wright and Mike Morgan and Gee Scott and Gee Scott Jr., great people and great attitudes.”
Wright believes these camps are valuable to help kids learn from a perspective they won’t hear from directly very often.
“They’re very important. First of all, I believe that it’s important for myself to come out into the community and teach what I know, show these kids what I’ve learned over the years,” Wright said. “Second of all, it’s good for the kids to get a perspective from an NFL player that’s been around a while, that understands the game really well. I can just teach them things that they don’t know, it’s good for both ends to get something out of it.”
The Centralia football players in attendance were also able to get up close and personal with Wright, including a team photo and autographs.
“These kids here are the kids who have mostly attended all of our weight room sessions or the three sport players that have attended during breaks so they’ve earned this opportunity to be here,” Thibault said. “K.J. and Gee have commented on all these kids and how great they are with the kids and that makes me happy at the end of the day.”
Towards the end of the camp following group drills, the kids were able to take a photo with Wright and heard some words of inspiration from Wright, Ford and Scott.
“These kids don’t care if I coach them. They want our players, they want K.J., Mike and Gee to coach them and that’s the special part about it,” Thibault said. “My role isn’t to coach kids, it’s to coach my kids well enough to coach these kids and make a memory for them.”
Wright hopes the kids were able to learn some football fundamentals have fun at the camp.
“Just have a good time, work hard and enjoy yourself in whatever you do and learn the good fundamentals that I learned, that I taught them, some of the tackling techniques,” Wright said. “(I) just taught them basic fundamentals, staying low, hand-eye coordination and take away just having a good time and football. You have to work hard to get what you want in life so I hope they learned that.”
OTA’s are next month for the Seahawks, and Wright has been enjoying his offseason, despite how fast it’s gone by.
“Offseason’s going too fast, and camp is next month actually. Offseason’s been good, doing some traveling, training with Tracy and just make sure you get your mind and body right for the upcoming season,” Wright said. “We have OTA’s coming up, new team, it’s time for us to rebuild and see what we have here.”
Wright offered some advice to those kids who were considering playing football next season, as well as some advice for high school athletes.
“Play, play multiple sports, don’t do just football. I did three sports in high school and they all carry over to help you be a better athlete,” Wright said. “So play as many sports as you can, enjoy it all, because you don’t get these chances too often because once it’s gone, it’s gone. Enjoy it while you can, enjoy your friends and enjoy school.”
The camp was a resounding success, and Thibault hopes they can recreate the excitement from this year’s camp next year.
“We realized we have an opportunity to do something special and we want every kid here,” Thibault said. “This is a cool thing. Our kids, hopefully next year, we can grow this camp, grow football so they come back.”