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The Bright Side: Jeremy Maclin

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The Bright Side: Jeremy Maclin


Turron Davenport's picture
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Turron has followed the NFL for as long as he can remember. In the off-season, Turron coordinates youth football camps for various players in the NFL. You can stay updated on what projects Turron is involved in by following him on Twitter @tdavenport88.

The Bright Side: Jeremy Maclin

“I want to give kids the opportunity I never really had," Philadelphia Eagles Wide Receiver Jeremy Maclin said to me recently, "To come out and experience the opportunity to learn from some of the NFL’s best and from guys who have already done it and to let them know if they keep their mind to it, you can do it if you work hard.”


The offseason offers a lot of free time for NFL players. Some choose to take the opportunity to give back to their community. Jeremy Maclin will be holding a charity weekend on April 5th and 6th. The events will benefit the Boys and Girls Club of Columbia, Missouri and The Ronald McDonald House. A Private Legends Cocktail Dinner on Friday night kicks off the weekend, followed by a Mizzou Legends Youth Football Clinic. Maclin is proud to offer younger people the chance to learn from professional athletes.


“Now I am in a position to do that. It is such a privilege.” Maclin said. “It brings excitement, we learn as much from them as they do from us. That’s what this is all about. Never forget to have fun.” Maclin went on, “These kids never forget to have fun. They want to get better but these kids are out here to have fun. That’s important to never forget.”


The Jeremy Maclin Foundation will also host the featured event of the weekend, a Legends Charity Softball game on Saturday afternoon. Maclin will serve as captain for one team while former Missouri and current Atlanta Falcons linebacker Sean Weatherspoon will handle similar duties for the friendly opposition. Many people don’t know the story behind Jeremy Maclin’s journey to the NFL. While he had the benefit of a father in his life, Maclin's mother battled alcoholism.


“Growing up with nobody is hard on anybody," Maclin said. "My mother's drinking problem made things a little rough and I didn't live in the best neighborhood. Add all those things up and it can take a toll on you."


Fortunately, Jeff Parres one of Maclin’s youth football coaches, was around to make things a bit easier. “On weeknights, we'd take him home after practice and there were times when there was no one at home and the doors would be locked, he'd have to climb through the windows to get in," Parres said. "And then he wouldn't have any dinner sometimes. Those were the tough times." He would spend a lot of time with the Parres family and eventually he was able to move in with them while he was in high school. The Parres family did not hesitate to take Maclin in. “How could you not?" Parres said. "Fortunately, we had the means to do it. When you run across somebody's life whose isn't as all tucked in and as perfect as yours, I don't know how you can turn your back on them."


Life has taught Jeremy Maclin the lesson of how much your charitable efforts can impact another human being. "I don't know where I'd be today if it weren't for the people who came into my life and helped me be successful." It is now his turn to pay it forward. Maclin plans to continue to take advantage of his status as an NFL star even after his career on the field is complete. He and Isiah Mares, a lifelong friend and his business manager, have a plan in place for the future. “He and I are trying to build something. Not just a football career, but a foundation for something greater. I've talked about my nonprofit pursuits, and my post-career goal of working with kids who grew up like I did. He plays into all of that; he's helping me realize those goals, which are our goals dating back to being 15 and 16 years old. And he and I see eye to eye on pretty much everything.”


The football camp and Charity Weekend is just the start of what will be a series of events and programs designed to assist young people who have gone through a tough upbringing. Please visit: http://www.jeremymaclincharityweekend.com/ for more information. Take the time to share in this event by way of sponsorship opportunities here:


DONATE TO THE JEREMY MACLIN CHARITY WEEKEND


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The star wide receiver shines a light upon the youth of his hometown, writes Turron Davenport.

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