Vikings legends offer pointers during kids football camp
Two former Minnesota Vikings were in Austin on Saturday to take part in a free football clinic. Chuck Foreman and Carl Lee joined Austin High School players and coaches at Ellis Middle School from 10 a.m. to noon.
Two former Minnesota Vikings were in Austin on Saturday to take part in a free football clinic.
Chuck Foreman and Carl Lee joined Austin High School players and coaches at Ellis Middle School from 10 a.m. to noon.
"We're going to do a bit of a mini football camp," said Foreman, who was the Vikings' first-round draft choice in 1973. The star running back played for six years and appeared in three Super Bowls with the Vikings. In 2010, the team named him one of the 50 Greatest Vikings in history.
Carl Lee, who lives in West Virginia, was in Minnesota for the All Dome Team celebration during Sunday's Vikings game. Lee welcomed the chance to make a stop in Austin on his way to being honored.
"It's good," Lee said. "For me, I was happy with the 50 Greatest. Just being a part of that — wow."
Lee almost wasn't a part of it. He was cut during his first training camp in 1983, but was told to sit by the phone by then defensive back coach Pete Carroll, who is now head coach for the Seattle Seahawks. Within a few days of his release, Lee was re-signed to the team.
Lee played 10 years with the Vikings and went on to become a coach. On Saturday, he knew just where he wanted to start the kids at the Austin mini camp.
"We really want to focus on a lot of the basics," said Lee.
During the clinic, Foreman took a moment to give some kids a pointer on not giving up.
"All you gotta do is remember you're going to grasp it," Foreman said of the concepts they were covering. "Be the best you can be, not the best he can be. Only you can define who you will be."
Nancy Stark took her son Ben, 11, to the clinic. Ben also plays baseball and hockey, and recently told his mom he couldn't imagine life without sports. Stark thought it was great he got the chance to learn from the former Vikings.
"That is awesome," Stark said. "You know, because it's a leader and a professional."
The clinic was put together on short notice by Austin lawyer Brandon Lawhead and a group of local sponsors who all "stepped up" in just two weeks time.
"It's a collaboration between the community and school and the athletes," said Lawhead, who wanted to give special attention to Austin Public Schools superintendent David Krenz, and Austin High School football coach Brett Vesel.
The athletes made their way to Hy-Vee Food Store after the clinic, signing autographs for $10 donations to the Feed A Family program, which the grocery store matched with $40 worth of food.
"It's the holiday season, so it seemed like the right thing to do," Lawhead said, adding the athletes wanted to do something to support the community.
Hy-Vee store manager Todd Hepler estimated the signing raised between $300 and $400. The goal of the program as a whole is to raise $15,000 by Friday.
"We're getting close, but we're not there yet," Hepler said. "It's a good program, and this helped. It's going to feed 650 families — that's 2,600 people right here in Austin."
Adam Pulchinski is a freelance writer.