By Amanda Anderson
FORT PIERCE -- Fort Pierce native Jamar Chaney is known for being a beast on the grid iron.
The 6-foot, 242-pound linebacker for the Philadelphia Eagles has netted more than 150 tackles, causing opposing offenses to cower in his presence.
While his reputation in the game of football is one of a warrior, off the field, Mr. Chaney is a humble newlywed, who said he wants to bring the game he loves so much to children in his hometown.
On Saturday, June 15, Mr. Chaney will host Jamar Chaney's second annual Football Camp at Lawnwood Stadium in Fort Pierce.
"I was born and raised in Fort Pierce," Mr. Chaney, No. 51 for the Eagles, said. "I lived there my entire life prior to leaving for school at Mississippi State."
As a child, Mr. Chaney excelled in sports, participating in basketball, baseball, track and field, and of course, football.
"While in elementary school, I attended Ryan McNeil's [football] camp," Mr. Chaney said. "He's a former NFL player and a Fort Pierce native."
Attending McNeil's camp held a lasting impression on Mr. Chaney.
Service plays a large role in the lives of professional athletes, and when Mr. Chaney was drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles in 2010, he said he instantly knew how he would give back to the community that gave him so much.
"I firmly believe that change starts with our youth," Mr. Chaney said. "I also believe it's very important to show [children] how far they can go with hard work and dedication. The camp has a strong emphasis on the importance of education, leadership and staying active. As a child, it is very important to be taught these things."
The first year Mr. Chaney hosted his football camp was a huge success.
"Luckily, we didn't have any issues putting together last year's camp," he said. "It was a lot of work, but I had a lot of help from family, friends and people in the community."
The overwhelming response from children in his hometown took Mr. Chaney by surprise.
"The biggest success was the turnout," Mr. Chaney added. "With it being my first camp, I expected maybe 100 kids, but there ended up being close to 250. It was very exciting to be able to teach so many kids football drills and talk to them about being leaders in the community."
This year, Mr. Chaney will have help from several friends: Keenan Clayton, current Oakland Raiders player and former Eagles teammate; Christian Thompson, current Baltimore Ravens player; Kyle Love, current Jacksonville Jaguars player and former Mississippi State teammate; Jakobe Ford, current Oakland Raiders player; Jeff Owens, former Eagles teammate; and Brian Rolle, current Pittsburgh Steelers player, former Eagles teammate and, most importantly, Mr. Chaney's cousin.
"This camp is a great opportunity to meet other kids, form new friendships, run drills with professional athletes, learn about the importance of education, leadership, staying active and other life skills," Mr. Chaney said.
As Mr. Chaney travels from Philadelphia to Fort Pierce with his new wife, Shamira, a Melbourne native, he cannot wait to get out on the field with the children.
"I'm looking forward to working with the kids again, to see the smile on their faces is priceless," Mr. Chaney said. "The camp is life-changing for so many kids and it really makes a difference in their lives."
More than anything, Mr. Chaney simply can't wait to be home.
"Hosting this football camp in Fort Pierce means everything to me," he said. "To be able to impact the community and the kids in a positive way is what it's all about."
Jamar Chaney's second annual Football Camp will take place Saturday, June 15 at Lawnwood Stadium, and is free for children ages 7-14. Registration begins at 8:30 a.m., with the camp running from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Lawnwood Stadium is located at 1302 Virginia Ave., Fort Pierce.
To register, email firstname.lastname@example.org with the child's name and age.