Since I was away for the weekend, James Carlucci covered the McCourty twins’ camp for kids on Saturday. Here’s his story on the event:
MONTVALE, N.J. — Devin and Jason McCourty were quiet children. Their Pop Warner coach, Rich Ciallella of the Valley Cottage Indians, says he never heard a boo from the twins.
So it was a pleasure for him to listen to their loud, determined voices as they assembled hundreds of parents and children onto the bleachers at St. Joseph Regional High School on Saturday as part of their free skills clinic for kids 7-14.
“At the end, we had a quick talk,” said Jason, who had the most tackles by a cornerback in the NFL last season as a member of the Tennessee Titans. “A lot of people come from different backgrounds, different areas, and no matter what, you’ve got to forget about it as you grow up and make your life what you want it to be.”
Their mother, Phyllis Harrell, inspired the two young men from Nyack to live by and spread that message.
“They came from a single mother,” Ciallella said. “I told her when she came here today that she molded them. Me being a parent — that’s probably the greatest thing anybody can do in their life. To raise two wonderful kids and have them make it to the NFL, and they’re twins — how many times do you see that happen in life?”
The brothers spent the day running around with the children and teaching them about fitness, football and having a team mentality. A group of fellow NFL players helped out, including Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice, Jacksonville Jaguars safety Courtney Greene and Giants defensive lineman Chris Canty.
“We learned to stay together no matter if you lose,” said Trashon Dye, a participant in the clinic.
Donovan Holloway, 13, said he learned how to better position himself at linebacker and how to catch and cuff the ball. Isaiah Hollensworth, 7, said he enjoyed the running drills. Daeron McClain said the most important lesson he learned was how to take care of his body and get stronger.
After drills were finished, food was served, giving the children a chance to mingle with the McCourtys and the other NFL players. The brothers also signed football gear and took pictures with each participant.
“I think the lack of having the free day is why we did this,” said Devin, who played in February’s Super Bowl as a New England Patriots cornerback. “When we were growing up, I don’t think there was a camp you could go to for the day with a bunch of NFL players for free.”
The brothers plan on making the skills clinic an annual area event, alternating among St. Joseph Regional (their former school), Nyack High School and possibly Rutgers University, where the McCourtys, Rice and Greene all played. According to Devin, their aims are to hold it at Nyack High next year and make the event bigger.
After the event was over, the brothers thanked their NFL peers, their friends who helped, and especially their mother.
“Our mother is probably the most important person to us in our life,” Jason said. “She’s done so much to help us get to where we’re at today. It was just a beautiful thing to have your mom at something like this.”