For several decades the Windsor, Ontario area has produced more than its fair share of professional football players.
Two of the area’s most prominent players recently teamed up to help ensure their hometown remains a football hotbed.
More than 200 football players attended the first-ever Windsor’s Finest Football Academy at the University of Windsor on April 5 & 6.
The camp was spearheaded by Windsor Tyrone Crawford, the Cowboys third-round selection in the 2012 NFL Draft. Crawford missed most of the 2013 season with an Achilles injury, but is now fully recovered.
La Salle’s Luke Willson, fresh off his Super Bowl victory with the Seattle Seahawks, was a mentor at the camp.
Open to high school players and football players between the ages of 11-13, the camp included on-field instruction and guidance on off field issues, including an anti-bullying.
The camp was held at the University of Windsor’s Alumni Stadium.
Also appearing as mentors were Cowboys outside linebacker Kyle Wilbur, Oakland Raiders receiver Rod Streeter, Montreal Alouettes defensive back Daryl Townsend and three-time Grey Cup champion Walter Spencer.
“We wanted to reach a lot of high school kids this year,” Crawford told Blackburn News reporter Mike Vlasveld at the camp. “I see it a lot in Boise State and now Dallas, where kids all get to interact with NFL guys and guys that made it pro. So we wanted to do that for our city too.”
Crawford told Vlasveld he hopes the camp will be an annual event.
According to Todd Archer of ESPN Dallas Crawford is fully recovered from his Achilles injury, which is great news for the Cowboys.
Crawford tore his Achilles tendon in training camp last year in a non-contact drill. In 2012 Crawford played in all 16 games and recorded 20 tackles.
Cowboys Head Coach Jason Garrett told ESPN Dallas reporter Calvin Watkins that Crawford “has really good versatility. We are going to look at the landscape of our defensive line and see where he fits in. We really think he can play all four spots (on the defensive line). We will use him in a couple of different spots certainly. We want to get him into a role, into a position where he is most comfortable and get his body right.” http://espn.go.com/blog/dallas/cowboys/post/_/id/4726264/the-tyrone-crawford-answer
“He will probably be a bigger guy and weigh a little more if he plays inside,” Garrett added. “He will be a lighter guy if he plays outside. Even if he plays outside we will probably use him inside in certain situations. We will make that determination here relatively soon. We have talked about this as a staff and with him a little bit. And depending who else we have in that landscape, we will probably pick a lane with him and see where we want to start with him and see how he adjusts to it.”
Images from the camp, courtesy Windsor Minor Football and Windsor’s Finest Football Academy: