ROCKINGHAM — The summer after Dannell Ellerbe won his first Super Bowl ring with the Baltimore Ravens, nearly five years ago, it was the biggest turnout he had ever seen for his annual USA Football FUNdamentals camp.
Now that he’s a little less than five months removed from claiming another Super Bowl victory, this time as a member of the Philadelphia Eagles, the two-time champion is expecting another record-breaking crowd.
Next month, Saturday, July 14, Ellerbe will be hosting his seventh annual camp, which is free, on the Richmond Senior High School practice football fields from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. for children ages 6-17.
It’ll be the second time in the last nine months that Ellerbe returns to his old stomping grounds, as he acted as grand marshal for the school’s Homecoming Parade — and then stayed to watch the football game — last October.
“I know how much Dannell loves doing the camp each year, so my favorite part is to watch him do what he does,” his wife Shervella said. “We love Richmond County. To be able to come back and pour into our county, it’s just something that we love so much. It’s why we do all the different events.”
Ellerbe — currently a NFL free agent — was born and raised in Hamlet, named to the Associated Press’ All-State Team following his senior year at Richmond (2002-03), and played his college football at the University of Georgia (2004-09).
The linebacker went undrafted a little more than nine years ago but has since made a name for himself in the league, totaling 376 tackles (288 solo), 12 pass deflections, 10.5 sacks, three interceptions and two forced fumbles over the course of his career. He signed with Philadelphia last November after the team lost starting linebacker Jordan Hicks for the season with an Achilles injury.
“We don’t see too many pro athletes come back down here. I know I didn’t see it when I was coming up,” Ellerbe said following his 2016 camp. “(I want to) give hope to the kids … and help build a foundation for them to be successful.”
Throughout the one-day camp, those in attendance will be taught the fundamentals of the game — the correct ways to pass, catch and carry the ball, and also run routes. There will be no contact drills.
Helping Ellerbe with the on-the-field activities will be some of his friends and former teammates from the high-school, college and professional ranks. Names from years prior include Miami Dolphins linebacker Stephone Anthony (attended Anson High School) and current NFL free agents running back Bobby Rainey and cornerback Cary Williams.
“We have a major line up for you guys this year!!!,” Ellerbe posted on his Instagram and Twitter pages.
To pre-register online, parents can visit www.usafootball.com/fun; type either “NC” or “28379” into the search box; and then click “Register” when Ellerbe’s camp information appears. Pre-registration ends Saturday, June 30.
The first 300 campers to register online, Ellerbe says, will receive T-shirts and gifts.
Those who aren’t able to sign up prior to the deadline will still be able to participate, as there will be a one-hour window (8-9 a.m.) on the morning of July 14 to register for the camp. Breakfast will be served during morning registration.
A young camper avoids being tagged as he makes his way through a running drill at Dannell Ellerbe’s fifth annual USA Football FUNdamentals camp on July 9, 2016. Ellerbe, a two-time Super Bowl champion, will return to Richmond Senior High School to host his seventh annual camp next month.
Reach sports editor Leon Hargrove Jr. by phone at 910-817-2673 or by email at [email protected] For stories, scores and updates, follow the Daily Journal’s sports section on Twitter @RCDailySports.