Faith before fame is something printed on all the shirts at Justin Houston’s annual football camp in Statesboro, and it’s something he’s tried to remind himself of throughout his NFL career.
The NFL All-Pro linebacker was in town this weekend for his fifth annual Faith Before Fame camp, and once again Womack Field was full of youngsters enjoying his free camp.
‘The purpose of starting this camp five years ago was to give back to the kids,” Houston said. “This city made me who I am and I will never forget that. I did this to give the kids a chance to meet me, and other NFL players which was an opportunity I never had when I was in school.”
While the football camp is the main draw, Houston has also tried to incorporate other events around the free football camp over the past five years.
“I added a three on three tournament, and a cheer camp for the girls this year,” Houston said. “It’s just another chance to give back, and to get the community involved, have some fun, and have something to do.”
One of the big draws to the camp is the chance for the kids in and around Statesboro to be able to see, meet and get instruction from Houston and other NFL players.
“I always try and bring as many guys from the University of Georgia as I can,” Houston said. “I also have some guys I have gotten to know around the NFL.”
Among the other NFL players to pitch in with this years Faith Before Fame camp were former UGA greats, wide receiver A.J. Green of the Cincinnati Bengals, and tight end Orson Charles of the Cleveland Browns.
“This is the third time I have come to Statesboro to help out Justin,” Green said. “I missed the last two years because of other commitments, but it’s great to be back and trying to help him give back to his community.”
“This is my first time coming to Statesboro,” Chares said. “It feels great to be able to help out a friend. When Justin told me he had a camp it was a no brainer for me to come out here. It is dom important to give back to the kids, and I really respect Justin and what he is doing in the place he grew up.”
“You can tell with all the guys that show up, how much it means to them to help Justin and to be around these kids,” Charles said. “These kids come out here ready to learn, and I think they listen even more as they know so many of us are playing in the NFL and started where a lot of them are now.”
Houston has spent his entire career with the Kansas City Chiefs, who drafted him in 2011. The Chiefs decided to instal a new 4-3 base on defense, and that is the reason they gave in the off season for not resigning Houston.
Interestingly Houston was picked up by the Indianapolis Colts, who also run a 4-3 defensive scheme, where he is expected to move to defensive end.
“It feels great to be back in the blue and white,” Houston said. “I haven’t worn those colors since being on the field here at Statesboro High. I feel like a new kid at a new school, and I’m ready to make some new friends.”
Houston had nine sacks last season with the Chiefs, and signed a two year deal with the Colts worth a reported $24 million dollars over two years.