NFL’s Lichtensteiger keeps giving back to home town
Monday, June 30, 2014 12:00 AM
By JIM METCALFE
A pair of competitors take part in drills during Kory Lichtensteiger’s football camp in Convoy on Saturday. Approximately 92 kids took part in the third annual event. (DHI Media/Jim Metcalfe)
DHI Media Staff Writer
CONVOY — Never forget where you came from.
That is one of the reasons that Convoy-area native and current Washington Redskins offensive lineman Kory Lichtensteiger enjoys returning to his hometown area and hosting a football camp for aspiring high school players at the Crestview Athletic Complex.
“When you make it to the Division I level and then to the National Football League, it’s easy to forget how you got there, especially when you come from a small town like here,” he began. “I would not have gotten to this point without the support I had from my family from the beginning: when I first started playing football, then every transition from grade school to high school, then to college and the pros. It took a lot of hard work and support to reach that dream of playing in the NFL. It’s nice I can come back and give back to the community; I really enjoy it.
“It’s almost like the movie ‘Field of Dreams’; if we have it, they will come. It’s something special.”
There is another reason as well for the 2003 Crestview High School graduate.
“This is the second year we had this camp (third year overall) that I have had college coaches and others here to help give instruction and give them access to players, to talk with them in a less stressful situation and let them know they’re looking at them. Heck, I was able to bring my strength coach from the Redskins today,” he explained. “The first year, it was just me and one or two others and we really didn’t know what we were doing. It’s become a lot more organized and I feel a lot better for these players; they get more instruction.
“I feel this is an underestimated recruiting area, especially since we don’t have a really big city in the area; I found that out when I was first being recruited. It also gives youngsters who are thinking about college football the chance to get access to college coaches and get on these schools’ radar.”
With approximately 92 players attending the third-year camp — roughly 30 more than last year — things are looking up for many of these hopefuls. “What I and the staff saw today was a bunch of kids working hard and competing well. They become fast friends and hopefully we will see some of these kids go on to the next level when it is their time,” he said.
For the 6-2, 296-pound, 7th-year NFL player, that meant attending Bowling Green State University (graduating in 2008), being drafted by the Denver Broncos in 2008 and playing there for one season before being waived and claimed briefly by the Minnesota Vikings. The Redskins signed him in January, 2010, and he currently is under a 5-year free-agent deal signed in March of 2013. With a new coaching staff in place in our nation’s capital — led by head coach Jay Gruden and offensive line coach Chris Foerster — coming off a 3-13 season, he hopes things will be changing for the better.
“It’s been a crazy year. They are moving me to center from guard; I have played it before in college,” he explained. “Still, it’s a change in getting used to making the line calls and angles and everything. We’ve been through all our OTAs and mini-camps and I feel a lot more comfortable now. When you think about it, it’s only one step over from guard, where I’ve started the last four years, so it really isn’t that much different. You have to work well with your linemates anyway. They have told me I am the number 1, which means it’s my job to lose. That gives me a lot of confidence.
“Our pre-season camp opens July 22, so I have a month off. It goes quickly and you still have to stay in shape.”
He did speak briefly about the ongoing controversy about the name of the Redskins. “We don’t talk about it much among ourselves; we try to stay focused about what we’re doing on the field. We’re aware of it but stay out of it,” he added.