A former Saskatchewan Roughrider who now plays in the NFL has returned to the province where he got his professional football start to get kids more active.
On Saturday, Chicago Bears linebacker Jerrell Freeman was in Regina to host an event for the NFL’s Play 60 program during Week 7 of the Regina Youth Flag Football League’s spring program.
NFL Play 60 is a national youth fitness campaign, focused on increasing the health of young fans by encouraging them to be active for 60 minutes per day.
Freeman said his goal is to get kids to put down their iPad, Xbox, or Playstation and head outside.
“Football is still big here so it’s a great way to incorporate it,” he said. “I’m just trying to help kids be aware of being outside and being active and how that can help you in the long run.”
Freeman said as a kid, he was told to play outside frequently, something that instilled in him a desire to be, and stay, active.
That’s something he wants to pass on to the young people he works with.
Although each day on the field with youth is different, Freeman said it’s never a dull moment.
“Prepare yourself to have a smile on your face all day,” he said, laughing. “With kids, whatever comes out of their mouth is usually the truth. [They’re] brutally honest.”
From 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. CST at the University of Regina football fields, participating kids got the opportunity to take part in a variety of drills and activities alongside pros like Freeman and Bears defensive end Akiem Hicks, who attended the U of R.
Freeman said he visits Regina at least once a year and still holds the support he gets from people in the city near and dear.