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Ellerbe brings smiles to campers’ faces

By Shawn Stinson

July 14, 2014

It was hard to tell who was having more fun — the kids or Dannell Ellerbe.


Once again, Ellerbe sponsored a free football camp Saturday morning on the practice football fields at Richmond Senior.


And Ellerbe was right in the middle of the action with the campers and had a smile on his face.


Working with the attendees on offensive line drills, Ellerbe was front and center. Showing the campers how to throw a tight spiral, Ellerbe was happy to imitate Ryan Tannehill.


Need someone to demonstrate how to do a running back drill, Ellerbe tucked the ball into his arm and away he went.


There was very little Ellerbe didn’t seem to be involved with during his camp. Even though it was impossible from him to be everywhere at once, it just seemed like he was.


“It’s a fun way to spend the day,” he said.


By the time things were wrapping up, Ellerbe was sweating almost as much as any of the campers.


The reason? Because it is a labor of love for the former Richmond Senior standout.


Ellerbe told the campers as well as the parents and fans that attended he could have his camp anywhere he wanted. Baltimore, Miami, even Athens, Georgia if he so desired.


This year’s camp had nearly 200 attendees and Ellerbe knows he could get double, triple maybe more children at his camp if he moved it to another city.


But he prefers to come back home and give back to Richmond County.


He remembers his roots and is more than happy to give back.


I have been fortunate to witness Ellerbe’s deeds which go unnoticed nationally, but mean so much to this community.


And in today’s world when more and more NFL players are getting in headlines for abusing their wives or girlfriends or being arrested for the umpteenth time, Ellerbe just goes about his life. He is a newlywed, a father of a 2-month old son and a new homeowner in the Miami area.


Pretty boring stuff, but he is a role model for all children to follow. He was encouraging his campers to focus on their academics, religion and to be courteous to their elders as well as practice and play hard.


Again, relatively boring stuff.


Yes, Ellerbe had his one momentarily lack of solid judgement moment while at Georgia. After he returned to Hamlet and got some very tough love from his mother, Valerie Covington, to get him back on track Ellerbe has been happy to tell his story to everyone who will listen.


“It’s always improtant to give back and put smiles on kids’ faces,” Ellerbe said. “That’s what it’s all about.”


And Ellerbe has been doing it for a while now and plans to keep doing it.


Reach sports editor Shawn Stinson at 910-817-2671 or on Twitter @scgolfer.