tight end Kellen Winslow huddles with participants at his football
camp at North Olmsted High School Saturday. (West Life photos
by Larry Bennet)
tight end Winslow kicks off first camp
By Jim Horvath
Published July 23, 2008
Cleveland Browns training camp opening today, there’s already a
strong sense of anticipation for the upcoming season and the success
many hope will come with it.
Last weekend at North Olmsted High School, nearly
120 youngsters got a taste of what it takes to get ready for the
season as the Browns’ All-Pro tight end Kellen Winslow ran his first
Kellen Winslow Football Camp. Boys from throughout the Cleveland
area got to run drills and play actual games with Winslow and other
pro players, including Browns backup quarterback Ken Dorsey and
former Browns defensive back Leigh Bodden.
A number of local high school and college coaches
ran various skill stations which specialized in the game’s basic
fundamentals. The seven-on-seven games were a favorite part of the
day, not only for the players but for the parents watching on the
sidelines as well.
Tony catches a pass during drills last Saturday morning at the
first Kellen Winslow Football Camp at North Olmsted High School.
Nearly 120 youngsters learned the passing game from area high
school and college coaches, as well as Winslow himself.
With Winslow being a receiver, a big emphasis of the
camp was the passing game. Each youngster not only received two
T-shirts, but a pair of receiver gloves as well.
The camp was run by ProCamps out of Cincinnati, which
runs similar camps featuring professional players throughout the
“We’ve been running these camps for about eight years
now,” said Tim Boesken of ProCamps. “This year, we’ve got 22 camps
like this, and it’s split around 50-50 between football and basketball.
Dwayne Wade of the Miami Heat just finished a camp in Florida last
“We’ve also done a camp down in Cincinnati as a fund-raiser
for the Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame, but mostly its football and
basketball. We’re basically a one-stop shop for pro athletes who
want to run camps like this. One thing we won’t do, though, is run
a camp for an athlete who won’t be there to participate. This is
our first camp in the Cleveland area,” he said.
Winslow’s camp also partnered with the Boys &
Girls Club of Cleveland. “We offer up to 50 scholarships at our
camps,” said Boesken. “We always want to make sure that kids who
want to participate can do so, and they get all of the things the
other children get, the T-shirts, the gloves, lunch, the whole thing.
“We’re able to do that through our sponsorships, and
there are times that we get additional sponsors and can offer more
than 50 spots,” he added.
Browns tight end Kellen Winslow shows proper pass catching techniques
during his camp last weekend at North Olmsted High School.
Later in the morning, there was also a training session
on one of the side fields for high school players. Most of the players
were from Lakewood, John Marshall and Rhodes. Instructors from Ignition
Athletics Performance Group of Cincinnati ran players through a
number of conditioning drills, showing various dynamic stretches
and putting them through a plyometrics workout.
“We think it’s important to help develop the youth
of our community, to develop their potential,” said Sgt. Joshua
Nitz of the Lakewood recruiting office of the U.S. Army. The Army
sponsored the conditioning event, along with the National Football
“Whether they wind up joining the Army or not isn’t
the big thing here,” said Sgt. Nitz, who along with fellow soldiers
were dressed in full fatigues despite the hot, humid conditions.
“We know that the same principals used to be successful on the football
field are the same ones you need to be successful in life.
“This is one of our favorite things to do. Our slogan
is now ‘Army Strong. Family Strong. Community Strong,’ and we enjoy
getting out of the office and away from the paper work and doing
things like this to make our community better,” he added.
But the big star of the day was Winslow, who was there
from beginning to end. He and Dorsey, who led the University of
Miami to the National Championship game against Ohio State, showed
campers how to run a variety of pass routes, along with little tips
on how to get their feet in bounds on the sidelines and how to catch
the ball with their fingertips.
“I use these gloves because I like to catch the ball
on my fingertips,” he explained to the campers. “I practice over
and over, and that’s one of the reasons I have soft hands. You don’t
ever want to see the palm of your hand on the football.
“You want to have soft hands, but you have to have
strong hands as well. I think that’s the most important thing to
work on,” he added.
Olmsted head football coach Mike Ptacek demonstrates for a group
of young campers at Kellen Winslow’s camp last Saturday.
Dorsey threw a number of passes to the young players
during the drills, but so did Winslow. When the seven-on-seven games
got underway, Winslow quarterbacked both teams on his field. Youngsters
had the thrill of catching a Winslow pass, some of them for touchdowns.
Some of them went for interceptions as well, but a
smiling Winslow didn’t seem to mind.
He even brushed off a botched play as he slipped to
the turf when he rolled out of the pocket. Everyone simply went
on to the next play with the anticipation of catching Winslow’s
At the end of the day, Winslow talked to the players
about working together as a team, that football is a team game.
“It’s all about being unselfish,” Winslow told them.
“There are going to be times when your number isn’t called. We’ve
got guys like Braylon Edwards and Joe Jurevicius. Maybe I have to
run a route to clear out a defensive back so Braylon can make the
play. I’m a tight end, so maybe I have to make a block for Jamal
“It’s all about helping the team win,” said Winslow.
“You’re going to get the ball, but you’re not going to get it all
the time because it’s a team game.”