Andre Fluellen said his Saturday football camp at Cartersville High School is more about the youngsters participating than just football.
But the 9 a.m.-to-noon camp will feature a lot about the old pigskin, as Bartow County youngsters can expect two-and-a-half hours of physical exertion while practicing with four current National Football League players presently involved in a lockout.
"It'll be a football drill camp," according to Fluellen, camp host and a former Cartersville Purple Hurricane and Florida State Seminole who now suits up for the Detroit Lions. "Every kid is going to learn every position. We expect to have kids from 7 to 18 and the young kids may not know what position they are [going to play], so everybody is pretty much going to run through everything. It'll be a chance for kids to get some professional tips and to be able to get out and work hard. It's something I want to do for the community. It's free. Any kid can come out."
He said youngsters who haven't already signed up can do so early Saturday and then participate. "At first we were going to be open to the first 100 kids, but then I told some of my PR people helping me that I don't want to turn any kid away. The first hundred of our registration forms are already filled up. Kids can register at the camp starting at 8 a.m.
"It's for anybody who has an interest in football. I know it's at Cartersville High School but it's for all of Bartow County."
Fluellen said the camp will turn from football once the "physical stuff" is concluded.
"We'll talk to the kids about life situations," he said. "We want them to know that we may be professional athletes but we are still people and we've gone through the same things they've gone through as kids. We had the same struggles. It's probably more important than the drills they go through. To change somebody's mind about which way they will go [in life] is probably worth more than what they learn in football."
The Cartersville great said it's about helping youngsters. "I really wanted to do something to give back to the community. Bartow County has been good to me. It's a great place to live and a great place to grow up. I had great coaches, great mentors.
"I really wanted to do something and to make it a free camp that could be for everybody. There will be food and drinks. I know it's for kids, but adults can come out and watch the kids go through drills. It's something I've wanted to do for a while and I'm glad I'm able to do it."
Fluellen said the camp has been partly a family affair, saying he is following in his dad's footsteps in his efforts to help others. "That's how my dad [Charles] is. He's always been that way, and it kind of rubbed off on me."
Fluellen said his father has helped get sponsors. "My whole family has helped. My mom [Judith] has helped and my brother, Charles Jr., has helped, too. Realistically, with them doing so much, I haven't had to do much except the physical part of getting everyone together."
He added he got a big assist from Cartersville offensive line coach James Jones. "[Coach] James Jones usually holds one, and I called him and we kind of put our brains together to do a camp."
Fluellen -- like his counterparts around the NFL -- are in a lockout and haven't been able to practice at their facilities. He said the NFL players actually participate in the camps and it wasn't hard to get their participation.
"There's an unspoken rule -- if you go to somebody's camp, they'll come and help you at yours," he said. "Everybody really likes to do it. They come down here and I have a hotel for them and all that. They get to see your hometown and old stomping grounds and that's cool."
Joining him Saturday are Sammie Lee Hill, an Alabama native who also plays for the Lions; Everette Brown, a defensive end with the Carolina Panthers who's from North Carolina; and DeMario Pressley, a defensive tackle with the Indianapolis Colts who's also from North Carolina.
"I went to Everette's camp two weeks ago," Fluellen said. "Yeah, he's from the middle of nowhere, too."
Fluellen said the camps are fun but by no means are they the only way he's been getting in shape for the NFL. He said he and several other Lions have stayed in Detroit since the lockout started in March.
"About four or five of us have been kind of working out together," he said. "It's good to have other guys kind of push you. It's kind of hard to work out when you're by yourself."
He said he has been tracking developments at the lockout: "They say they're getting close [to a solution], but I'm sort of a skeptic. I really don't believe anything until it's in front of my face."
But he said he wants the lockout ended. "This is way too long. We still need our offseason workouts and our rookies still need to be able to get used to the formations and acclimated to the team.
"This is hard on the game. It takes a little away because we haven't been able to practice. I can't go to my facility or talk with anyone associated with the Detroit Lions other than fellow players. It's hard to get a lot of things done that we would be doing right now."
Although he has been in Cartersville preparing for the camp and renewing old friendships, he said he was able to work in a visit to his former coaches. In fact, he said, he attended a morning practice with the Cartersville Purple Hurricanes on Wednesday.
"Man, they ran me to death. They run a tight ship over there at Cartersville. I'd forgotten about that, but it felt good, though. It was a good workout. I'm still one of his [Cartersville head coach Frank Barden] boys."
He said the Canes seemed to like his presence on the football field working out with them.
"They really weren't expecting me to run with them. It was fun. I was tired. I tried not to show it, but I was huffing and puffing. The kids work hard over there."