Rams' Brown gives back to his hometown
By Scott Ferrell
When Fakhir Brown was growing up in Mansfield, his dreams weren't limited to just playing in the National Football League.
He had another dream as well — one of giving back to his hometown.
"We were wishing that some of the guys that had made it to the NFL would come back and have some stuff for us," said Brown, a St. Louis Rams cornerback who will host the camp along with Mansfield High School basketball coach Chris Thomas, a former high school teammate. "We said if we got a chance to do it, we'd come back and have something for the kids during the summer."
Brown will host a free football camp in Mansfield beginning on Thursday for first- through fifth-graders. On Saturday, the camp will turn to sixth- through 12th-graders. It is the fourth year Brown has held such a camp and the third year it has been held in Mansfield.
Brown's own path to the NFL was a bit different. He went undrafted out of Grambling and began his career in the Canadian Football League in 1998. He was on the San Diego Chargers' practice squad in 1999 and played for the Chargers in 2000 before being out of the league in 2001. In 2002, he joined the New Orleans Saints and then began to establish himself in the league.
"When he got with the New Orleans Saints, he came up with the plan that he wanted to do something for the community," Thomas said. "Because when we were coming up, we had some guys play professional sports, but a lot of them never really came back.
"So once he got situated and he got with the Saints, he came up with the idea that he wanted to do a football camp to give back to the young men in town."
The camp began in Natchitoches at Northwestern State.
"He was just trying to get the kids away," Thomas said.
That first year Brown paid for the camp out of his pocket. Since then, he's been able to get donations to help offset some of the expense.
"It says a lot that he hasn't forgotten what he's come from," Thomas said. "He hasn't forgotten what it took for him to get there. He went the hard way to get to the NFL. He didn't get drafted. He went to the Canadian (Football) League then the NFL."
Brown says his giving back to his hometown is just a way of saying thanks.
"It shows the appreciation I have for the city of Mansfield because they look out pretty good for me, too," Brown said.
Brown will work the camp along with Mansfield head coach Donald Mayweather and other coaches.
They'll runs the players through drills and even have a championship game on Saturday.
But they'll do something else.
"We talk about life experiences and situations," Brown said. "We'll have other players come out and talk to them about how important it is to get your education."
The camp has grown as the years have gone.
A free football camp in Mansfield is just the kind of thing Brown dreamed of when he was young.
"It's taken off very good," Brown said. "The first year I had it, there weren't very many people there. Each year we've picked up more kids. This year, we're going to have a lot of people from out of state coming in."
Re: Rams' Brown gives back to his hometown
Not to be a cynic, but I wonder why he was out of the NFL in 2001.
On the other hand, looks to me like the guy wanted to play in the NFL pretty badly, and is of fairly good character, (hence the football camp).
So maybe...just maybe... he DID have a legitimate excuse last year, got hosed, and let the powers that be know how he felt, they carried a grudge and TRIED (unsuccessfully) to nail him for something this year.
Farfetched? Perhaps...but (forgetting you're a Ram fan), do you feel Goodell really handled the illegal tapings in a proper manner?
He destroyued the flippin'tapes , for ******sakes. What does that tell you?
Anyway, good on ya', Fakhir - I look forward to watching you next year.