JUNE 19, 2014, ALBUQUERQUE, NM – Dreams of one day playing in the NFL are now a reality for Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver Lamaar Thomas, who saw action in his first NFL games during the 2013 season.
But before Thomas kicks off his second season in the league, he’s looking forward to taking part in a youth football camp on Saturday, June 28 in Rio Rancho, N.M., that he’s worked on since the end of last season.
“This is something I’ve been wanted to do since college,” said Thomas his camp dreams. “I had the opportunity to go to the same camp when I was younger, so I know first-hand how much fun that was for me.”
The Fort Washington, Md., native is thankful for the unique position he’s in to be a mentor and role model for so many kids that are in the same position he was in just ten years ago. It’s an idea he’s brainstormed many times previously with friend and former coach, Dan Foley.
“We are excited to have such a great young man and role model helping the youth of our community,” said Foley.
The camp will be open to children from the Albuquerque and Rio Rancho areas for no charge. The Rio Rancho High School coaching staff will be co-hosting the event, and organization including the Boys and Girls Club of America, the local YMCA and Rio Rancho Department of Parks and Recreation will assist in enlisting children.
“I’m not into charging kids of this experience,” said Thomas. “I don’t think it’s fair to parents. I remember feeling awful asking my parents to chip in when I attended camps. I’m all about giving back to community, and I don’t need to profit from helping young children grow and chase their dreams.”
Nicknamed “Flash,” Thomas is an alum of the University of New Mexico Lobos football after transferring from Ohio State, where he saw action at wide receiver and quarterback but was best known for his lightning quick speed. Although Thomas’s time at New Mexico was short, his impact lives on.
“Lamaar’s accomplishments on the field are small compared to the impact he has made off the field in young people’s lives,” said Foley. “Having him back in NM, a place we consider his home, is an honor and a privilege we believe this is only the beginning for Lamaar.”
While recovering from an injury at UNM, Thomas frequently attended Rio Rancho football games, becoming a huge supporter of the community for years and frequent guest speaker for the camp.
“It means a lot to me to help this community out when they’ve always helped me in the past,” said Thomas of his relationship with Rio Rancho High School. “I’ve attended many of their football games before, and Dan Foley helped me tremendously when I was in school. He was like a father figure to me, when I needed to get away or needed a meal on a Sunday, I could always go to him.”
Although Thomas went undrafted in 2012, the Denver Broncos quickly signed him after the draft. In Denver, he spent the entire 2013 preseason working with one of the greatest QBs of all-time, Peyton Manning. Just as the regular season started, Thomas signed with the Jacksonville Jaguars where he remains today as their #2 wide receiver going into the 2014 season.
The camp is set to take place just after the Jaguar training camps wrap up, and Thomas is eager to bring this long time idea to life.
“The point of this camp isn’t to show these kids anything in particular; it’s more about just having fun,” said Thomas. “Yeah, we’ll go over some techniques and things like that, but I know how fun these camps can be and that’s the opportunity I want to extend to these kids.”
The camps will take place at Rio Rancho High School, 301 Loma Colorado Blvd NE, Rio Rancho, N.M. Registration will begin at 8 a.m. MDT and the camp will kick off at 10 a.m.
For more information on Thomas, visit his website www.MrFlashThomas.com. Interact with him on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest via the handle @MrFlashThomas.
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