Former Lions storm Genesee County for skills camp

FLINT — With schools all across the county cutting athletic budgets, the camps and clinics that dominate the summer landscape have become one of the few things up-and-coming athletes can count on. Among those answering this call to duty are former Lions Lomas Brown and Eddie Murray, who hosted a Big Man Camp at Atwood Stadium last Friday followed by the Three Point Kicking Clinic.

“We wanted to go back to the fundamentals, so basically we worked on getting into the stance, taking off from that stance, hand placement, foot placement. Those are the different things you want to teach kids at a young age so they have a foundation that will make it a little easier for them to learn different things,” said Brown, who played offensive tackle for the Lions from 1985-95 before suiting up for the Arizona Cardinals, Cleveland Browns, New York Giants and Tampa Bay Buccaneers from 1996- 2002. “These kids took time to come out here and get better. They’ve been very good students, they listen well and they follow instructions. As a coach and a teacher, all you want is for your kids to cooperate and follow instructions, and that’s what these kids here are doing.”

For Brown, a former Florida native, his portion of this event also had an afternoon session last Thursday.

“We would love to make this a regular thing. I think the people and the kids in Flint deserve it. Flint is a great area for sports. You look at some of the basketball and football talent that has come out of Flint, this is like a hidden resource. I think more camps like this are something that is needed in this area,” said Brown, a six-time National Football League Pro Bowl selection and one time Superbowl Champion with the Buccaneers in 2002.

“Until I came up here I didn’t realize what a great stadium Atwood is. The turf is nice and so is the redesign that’s been done to it, so this is a very nice place to play a game,” Brown added.

While there was plenty of overflow from one clinic to the next, Murray’s kick camp took place last Friday and Saturday and adopted a very similar format to Brown’s Big Man sessions.

“This is our first time doing this in Flint. We worked with (Atwood Stadium Director) Ron Rolak, who had contacted us about putting this together,” said Murray, a seventh-round 1980 draft pick of the Lions out of Tulane University who played with the team until 1991 before spending the next nine seasons with Kansas City, Tampa Bay, Dallas, Philadelphia, Washington and Minnesota. “We were happy to come out here and try and help some kids out and give them some instruction. Like any camp, we just want to get down to the basics and teach them the fundamentals at a younger age so they can use those fundamentals as they get older, bigger and stronger. Then they won’t have to get rid of some bad habits later.”

With 20 years NFL experience, Murray put up 466 field-goal attempts during his time in the league, making 352. The Halifax, Nova Scotia native and current MIchigan resident was also MVP of the 1980 Pro Bowl and earned All-Pro accolades on four separate occasions.

“If you teach them good fundamentals and technique now, hopefully they’ll be in a better position when they get older. As we have progressed in our careers as professionals, it’s always good to try and pass on some of those positive things that we’ve learned in our adolescence and moving on into our college and pro careers. It’s very important to give back,” said Murray, who won his Superbowl Championship ring with the 1992 Dallas Cowboys. “The biggest thing really is to get your kid involved so they can learn some specialties that they’re interested in, be it baseball, basketball, hockey, football or soccer. Whatever it is, get them out there so they can learn some fundamentals and just enjoy the day being out.”

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