A positive welcome home

By Kevin Posival
Updated: June 25, 2009

KILLEEN, Tx. — Juaquin Iglesias stroked his hair down and laughed with embarrassment when 415 children greeted him with screams and applause Tuesday at the Boys and Girls Club of Central Texas.

Some of those cheering didn’t even know who he was. But Iglesias was introduced as once being one of them and now a professional football player.

“I’m not sure what to expect,” said Iglesias, who was drafted by the Chicago Bears out of Oklahoma University in the third round of April’s NFL draft. “I think it would’ve meant a lot to me.

“I know there are a lot of things that inspire us. If I can be one of them, maybe one of these kids can become one of us.”

Growing up, Iglesias said his role model was his older brother.

Now, he said, he’s following the standard set by former Ellison Eagle and current Bears’ teammate Tommie Harris Jr.

“I think he definitely set a standard that’s good for the community,” Iglesias said of Harris’ contributions to Killeen. “That inspires me to do anything I can. He’s a great guy and it helps (me) with us being from the same city.

“I’m going to try to get under his wing. Hopefully I get to where he’s at. This community means a lot to us.”

Iglesias spoke briefly about the importance of setting goals and staying in school before talking with media, mingling with the kids and taking a tour of the facility – stopping shortly to find himself in a 1998 club football team photo.

“It means a lot coming back,” Iglesias said. “I spent a lot time (at the Boys & Girls Club), a lot of summer days there, just like those kids have. It meant a lot to me to have somewhere to go (when I was a kid). I know it means a lot to those kids … that’s kind of why, a big kind of why, I wanted to come back, because I know what they’re going through, I know what I went through.”

Iglesias, who signed a four-year contract with the Bears on June 10, ranks second all-time on Oklahoma’s all-time receiving list with 202 receptions and 2,821 yards. He is also second all-time in receptions at Killeen High School with 99 for 1,744 yards and 17 touchdowns.

“When I was young, like when I was your age, I set a goal that I wanted to be in the NFL and I’m sure a lot of people in here have the same goal and if you work hard at it, you can reach it,” Iglesias told the crowd before receiving a lifetime membership to the Boys & Girls Club of Central Texas.

“I’m from Killeen, so anything that you do I’m going to be following. And hopefully I’ve inspired a lot of you to do the things I’ve done and accomplish more than what I’ve accomplished,” Iglesias said. “Hopefully, you will come back and see that you have inspired others just like I did.”

Iglesias added making the NFL was a dream come true but it still hasn’t sunk in yet.

“When I see myself in the uniform, it hits me sometimes,” Iglesias said. “This was one of my main goals, playing in the NFL, and hopefully I can inspire someone in there to try to do the same thing. I told myself if I made it, I was always going to come back. This is just like a dream come true, just like making the NFL.”