KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Former Bishop Miege and Mizzou linebacker Shane Ray is back in town for his third-annual Youth Football Camp.
This year the current Baltimore Raven will host the camp at Central High School on Saturday, and other NFL stars will be joining him for the one-day camp.
“It’s always great to be back home, and to come back home and do something like this, it’s always a big deal,” Ray said.
He said it’s good to give back to kids that are in the inner city as part of his Rays Awareness platform.
“Doing things in the inner city and trying to provide opportunity for young adults to learn, whether it’s about football or to help them with any advice that I had, has always been a big emphasis for me,” he said. “Every year I do this for free. Obviously it’s affordable.”
His advice to kids during this camp?
“Life is difficult. Life is hard. And being where we’re from and things we have to deal with, it’s going to be harder,” he said. “So if you really want what you want for yourself, you’ve got to work for it and you’ve got to sacrifice.
“You talk to young parents and they want their kid to be the next athlete, but the parent’s aren’t sacrificing their schedule to get them to where they want to be. So I guarantee you more times than not those things will work out in your favor.”
Ray said growing up with a single mother helped mold him into the man he is today.
“I’m from the heart of Kansas City. I’m not from one of these outskirts, so I know how it really goes down,” he said. “The things that I’ve been through, the things that I’ve seen — if I had some of the advice or the opportunity to listen to somebody where I was from and had the same the experiences and made it to the NFL, obviously I would like to get as much advice as I could.
“I’m just trying to be a voice to kids who think they may be misunderstood or may just need that one bit of advice because I had a lot of people helping me out in my rough time. So this is what it’s all about.”
As for his new role with a new team in Baltimore, Ray said it’s been great.
“They welcomed me with open arms. My personality fits with their defense. They want a lot of people who fly to the ball with a lot of energy, dudes that are savages. And I’ve been really appreciative of them taking me and giving me an opportunity.”
Ray’s camp is free to anyone, and they do take walk-up participants. The camp goes from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Saturday.