Ready to 'give back' again: Allen looking forward to footbal
Ready to 'give back' again: Allen looking forward to football camp
BY BILLY GOMILA
THE DAILY NEWS
BOGALUSA - In recent years it has become vogue for celebrities and professional athletes to "keep things real" and "remember where they come from." These lines that have been recited so many times in so many interviews they're downright clich/d.
But for Bogalusa native Kenderick Allen these statements could not be truer.
The bright lights of New York City haven't blinded Allen to his roots, and the New York Giants defensive tackle is determined to keep giving back to his community.
"I love Bogalusa," said the former Lumberjack star and LSU standout, now in his third year in the NFL. "My whole basis is to just keep giving back, because I was raised well there."
Later this month Allen will host his second annual "Giving Back" football camp for children age 7-18 in the community. The camp will be held at Lumberjack Stadium on June 29 and 30. Registration fee is $50.
Former Lumberjack standout Robert "Big Bird" Smith, now the director of player personnel for the Arena Football League's Philadelphia Soul will serve as camp director with Allen and several of his fellow NFL players working as counselors.
The current roster includes NFL stars like running back Deuce McCallister and defensive end Charles Grant of the Saints, along with Baton Rouge native and Atlanta Falcons running back Warrick Dunn. Former LSU quarterback Rohan Davey, now with the NFL champion New England Patriots will be in attendance, along with other NFL players like Howard Green and Boo Williams of the Saints, Justin Griffith of the Falcons and Brandon Winey and Fred Robbins of the Giants.
McCallister's attendance at last year's camp helped spike interest, and Allen hopes that this year's expanded roster of NFL players will bring in even more campers.
"We're going to get out there whether it's 50 kids or 200 kids," said Allen. "Hopefully one day we'll get it big enough to where it can be free for everybody."
Allen's giving mentality has extended beyond just the camp. Last Christmas he "adopted" a local family to buy presents with the help of Smith and Bogalusa High Basketball Coach Ken Martin.
He's also helped mentor cousin Ronald Fields, another former Lumberjack star who was drafted by the San Francisco 49ers in the last NFL Draft out of Mississippi State.
"We talk every day," Allen remarked about his relationship with Fields. "I'm probably happier than he is about being in the NFL."
Louisiana has one of the highest per-capita percentages of NFL players of any United State, which has helped Allen stock the roster of counselors for his camp such as Dunn.
"With him being a Louisiana guy, you know you run into people and everybody seems to know each other," Allen said of securing Dunn's attendance. "And when you want to work with kids a lot of guys are going to try and come. I work a lot of different camps that other guys put together too."
Dunn, who's mother was killed his senior year at Catholic High School in Baton Rouge, has been active in charity work since his rookie year with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He has sponsored programs in Baton Rouge, Tampa and now Atlanta to build homes for families with single mothers.
The addition of Davey, a former teammate of Allen's at LSU, came about because both players will work the camp of former Tiger All-American Kevin Faulk in Lafayette. Faulk also plays for the Patriots.
Former LSU All-American cornerback Corey Webster, who recently became Allen's teammate with New York, may also show up for the camp.
For the time being Allen has moved into a New Orleans apartment. For the next five weeks, when he's not working on the camp he'll be training with world-renowned strength and speed coach Tom Shaw, who trains athletes from across the NFL and the world.
"I'm just trying to keep my body fresh for (Giants) training camp," said Allen, who will be competing for a starting job at nose tackle with New York. "I just try to keep in shape. You do so much work in the offseason, and it would be a waste to come home for a few weeks and lose all that before camp."
Allen had his first career NFL start last December 7 against Tampa Bay, picking up a solo tackle. This camp he'll compete with free-agent signee Kendrick Clancy at the position.
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