ATLANTA -- Just over 300 campers arrived at Mt. Vernon Presbyterian School Monday morning to take part in Day 1 of the 2012 New Era Football Camp presented by France AllPro Athlete Management. The four-day event will be attended by over 45 NFL athletes who will run drills and meet with campers to talk about football and anything else that pops into the head of eight to 18-year-old campers.
Linebacker Leroy Hill said the funniest question he was asked Monday was what his favorite NFL team was.
"I guess it'll be the team I play for," Hill answered with a laugh. Hill plays for the Seattle Seahawks and has since 2005 when he was drafted in the third round after playing four seasons at Clemson University.
Hill, with the help of a camp trainer and Jacksonville Jaguars safety Courtney Greene, was helping kids navigate the ladder drill, a drill where participants used footwork and agility to dance in and out of rope ladders lying on the ground.
When a camper hit one of "Hill's ladders" enough to move it significantly, he would hand out a playful five-push-up punishment. The push-ups weren't mandatory, but everyone had a good time with them anyway. And the drill was definitely a good workout for the campers.
Hill said he'd been doing some ladder drills in his offseason workout program. Not only has he worked on the field to trim down, Hill said he'd been in the weight room and watching his diet.
"I usually play around 240-242 pounds, but this season I want to go into it training camp at 235, said Hill. "I'm getting a little older a little long in the tooth, so I'm going to drop my weight and see if I can keep my speed going."
Even though he's entering his eighth season in the NFL, Hill said he feels like it's just Year 3 or 4, which is a good thing seeing as how Seattle has one of the youngest teams in the NFL.
"I'm the old man up there," said Hill about the Seahawks' roster. "It's across the board that we have a young team. We finished with the No. 9 defense in the league last year and we got 10 of 11 starters returning."
During the lull between minicamp and training camp Hill returned to his home state of Georgia to help with the F.A.A.M. Football Camp. Although he never attended these types of camps as a youth, he can see why they are so popular today.
"The kids look up to us," said Hill. "They have aspirations and dreams to make it where we're at. We all started at this point when we were young just looking at the athletes and the NFL players and wanting to be them.
"I come out here for them to meet me and meet us and to see that we're just normal people and we love these drills, it's what we do. They look up to us so we look after them."