Former NFL running back Natrone Means was in town on Monday and Tuesday to share his wisdom with the next generation of football players.
Means, along with fellow NFL veteran Jerome Simpson and a dedicated group of coaches from across the community, hosted a free football camp at Lake Reidsville.
The group joined forces with the Reidsville Parks & Recreation Department to host the camp that focused on the fundamentals of football and sportsmanship.
Means, the current offensive coordinator at Winston-Salem State University, worked with kids ages 6 to 17 years of age throughout the two days with a variety of skill developing drills and they even provided free lunch at the conclusion of the camp.
“It’s always important to give back. Coaches have done things for me in the past and taught me the game of football, something that has done so much for me in my life. I relish the opportunity to get out here and share my story and when Haywood Cloud, a guy I played against in the East-West All-Star Game, when he asked me to come out, I was happy to come out and help the kids and was very excited to come to Reidsville,” Means said.
Cloud is an assistant city manager of community services with the City of Reidsville and he and a group of citizens have worked tirelessly over the years to bring in big names to inspire and teach the kids.
Selected with the 41st pick of the second round of the 1993 NFL draft by the San Diego Chargers, Means played his college ball at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He played with four different teams over his seven-year NFL career prior to his retirement in 2000.
The camp attracted around 50 kids that were eager to show the coaches that they’ve got what it takes to shine on the field and Means said he liked what he saw.
“Trust me, there’s a couple around here that I’ve already got my eye on. I see some middle school players out here that are going to be future Rams and there is definitely some talent here. We recruit here, Winston-Salem State has had a great deal of success with Reidsville players and we are looking forward to see what Travion Canada and Trell Rankin do when they get to WSSU,” he said.
Even though his playing days ended 19 years ago, he said he still remembers the excitement and the possibilities the game of football opened up for him as a kid.
“Growing up, I always imagined myself playing in the NFL. In our neighborhood we would play out in the streets and just rough housed as boys. But athletics instilled in me the foundations of team work and hard work – everybody coming together and achieving the same goal, so for me that’s where my love of the game began as a kid. I was fortunate enough to have a collegiate and pro career, so I owe a lot of my success in life to the game of football,” Means said.