By Anthony McClean, Editor In Chief Emeritus NEW HAVEN (BASN) —...
Redding, Friends Give Back To Area Youths
Redding, who returned to his neighborhood roots, had both past and present football icons in attendance for the event. Some of those attending included former Northshore Mustangs teammates: Willie Gatson (Baltimore Ravens), Andre Gurode (Dallas Cowboys), as well as University of Texas Longhorns teammates: Kasey Studdard (Houston Texans), Shaun Rogers (Cleveland Browns), Tony Hills (Pittsburgh Steelers), and Matt Melton (Houston Texans).
The camp ,which is held in conjunction with the Cory Redding Foundation, a 501c3 origination, was designed to give the participants the opportunity to interact one-on-one with NFL greats and active players to enhance their skills on the field and to give them better knowledge of football, while instilling integrity, a good work ethic, discipline and courage, displayed the “3D’s-DESIRE, DISCIPLINE-DEDICATION”.
Over 180 kids attending the five-hour camp who’s slogan was “It Takes More Than Talent Alone”, worked hard in the hot sun and enjoyed every minute of being up close and personal with all of the players.
“It feels good to come back where I grew up and help the kids that are now growing up in my same neighborhood,” Redding said. “We want them to know that with hard work and determination, we made it and so can they.”
Redding played football for the Mustangs varsity football team. In 1998, he was named USA Today Defensive Player of the Year, and he was a consensus All-American selection.
After an illustrious high school career he went on to play football at the University of Texas. The former Longhorn was a two-time All-Big 12 Conference selection and he played in every game, including a string of 35 consecutive starts on the defensive line.
Redding graduated from North Shore in 1999, but his work ethic both on and off the field has impacted other players who credit him for his giving heart and passion.
“It’s exciting to come out to this event and see the expressions on all of the kids faces,” Dallas Cowboys star and former North Shore product Andre Gurode said. “Cory helped me get better as a player in high school and I wouldn’t be where I am today if it wasn’t for him.”
In addition to the camp, the Cory Redding Foundation held a Celebrity Reception for the players, sponsors and guest at the Za Za Hotel. Some of the guests in attendance where: Toni Smith (Foundation Event Coordinator), Matt Melton (Texas), Langston Moore (Detroit Lions), Kasey Studdard (Houston Texans), Jackie Battle (Kansas City Chiefs), Marquay Love (New Orleans Saints), Greg Briggs (Dallas Cowboys), and Lawrence Taylor (former New York Giants).
Other NFL players in attendance at the camp included Terrence Melton (Carolina Panthers), Kalen Thornton (Dallas Cowboys), Broderick Thomas (Minnesota Vikings), Malik Boyd (Minnesota Vikings), Ricardo McDonald (Cincinnati Bengals), Reggie Phillips (Chicago Bears), Donte Curry (Carolina Panthers), Lamar Lathan (former Houston Oiler/Carolina Panther), Bubba McDowell (former Houston Oiler), and Eddie George (former Oiler/Titan) running back, who’s now an analyst for NFL Network.
Redding was drafted by the Detroit Lions in 2003 as the 66th overall pick in the third round. In 2005, he played in all 16 games and set a career high with 42 tackles (29 solo).
However, despite him being so far away, he continues to come back and give along with so many other North Shore athletes who have passed through the same doors over the years.
Many former players, such as Redding, Gurode, and Gatson donate money to the athletic programs to help with whatever is needed.
“To do something special for the kids means alot,” Redding said. “Some of the players might not get an athletic scholarship and have the success that we’ve been blessed to have; however, while they’re at North Shore, we want them to feel like they’re in the pro’s, every time they put on a Mustangs jersey.”
The Mustangs are 70-0 over the past seven years, winning district for over 10-plus consecutive seasons. They have a large contigent of fans, who travel to see them play wherever they go.
They are presently ranked as the top team in the area this season and they will have three games televised nationally when they face Katy, Eisenhower, and Southlake Carroll.
“People give because they want to give, and people gave to us,” Gurode said. “This is what it’s all about, GIVING , and helping to mold the next generation of givers.”