Brown and Fluellen will do so by holding a youth football camp in their hometown of Cartersville, June 22 at Weinman Stadium, to give youngsters a chance to meet NFL players and learn something about football in the process.
“[Cartersville] is still home to me,” Brown said. “That’s where I grew up. That’s where I went to school and Cartersville is a big part of who I am.”
The camp will take place from 9 a.m. to noon that Saturday and will feature drills and advice from the NFL players who will attend.
Brown and Fluellen hope to help young football players in the community the way they were helped as youngsters.
“It’s just a way to give back to the city. That’s all we really wanted to do. Just do our part and give these kids an opportunity we may not have had when we were younger,” Fluellen said.
Brown and Fluellen both feel the community they grew up in helped them achieve their athletic goals.
“I think the key for me was that [Cartersville] is a real family area. Everyone is very supportive and you are always held accountable by the community,” Brown said. “Everybody came out to support the sports teams and just to have that support and to know that you have that allows you to go in the right direction and be successful.
“I don’t think anybody who has been a successful athlete or business person has done it totally by themselves. Everybody needs a little help, a little support and a little push from the community.”
Fluellen remembers specific examples of when the town kept him on the right path.
“I remember one day at Cartersville High School, one of my friends was cooking and I left to go to lunch. So I get a call from my dad, saying ‘Are you enjoying your lunch?’ And I thought, ‘How in the world does he know that?’ Well, one of the teachers saw me leave and, before they even thought to call the principal, they called my dad. So it’s just instances like that where everyone holds you accountable,” Fluellen said. “That’s what is great about being in a place like Cartersville. People actually care about you. You can build relationships with people and get to know one another. That was a great thing for me.”
When Brown was a senior at Cartersville High, Fluellen was a freshman. The team won a state championship in 1999 before both players moved on to become college football standouts and then NFL players.
Brown now plays for the Chargers and Fluellen is currently a free agent after playing for the Miami Dolphins and Detroit Lions in 2012.
The camp offers local young football players a chance to meet other NFL players as well.
“There are not that many big-name athletes coming from Cartersville so it’s just something exciting for the kids to be able to get some individual training from NFL players,” Fluellen said.
In addition to Brown and Fluellen, the camp will also feature 3-time All-Pro wide receiver and the NFL’s reigning receiving yards leader, Calvin Johnson (Detroit Lions).
Some other past and present NFL players who will be at the camp are Carlos Rogers (San Francisco 49ers), Jason Campbell (Cleveland Browns), Carnell “Cadillac” Williams (retired), Sammie Hill (Tennessee Titans) and Channing Crowder (retired).
“It’s a good opportunity for some local guys like Andre and myself to be able to come back and participate in this capacity. We want to give kids the opportunity to see some guys they may watch on TV and just realize that, if you’re from Cartersville, you have an opportunity to be just as successful as anybody else,” Brown said. “It’s just a time to be able to interact with NFL players and have a good day.”
Fluellen started the camp in 2011 and Brown joined his former Cartersville teammate the next year.
Hundreds of kids have taken advantage of the chance to meet the players and learn from two of the best to ever play in Cartersville.
“Obviously, it’s a football camp so that’s going to be the basis, but we want to teach kids about more than football,” Fluellen said. “One thing that Ronnie and I want to talk about is education and making sure the kids understand the importance. Not every kid is going to make it playing football. Most are going to be doing something else. So you have to work just as hard doing other things as you do at football and that’s something we will try to instill in the kids.”
Registration is free and T-shirts will be given out during the camp.
The camp also will feature special remarks from Cartersville Mayor Matt Santini.
For information regarding registration, contact Britt McGill with the Cartersville Parks and Recreation Department, located at Dellinger Park, 100 Pine Grove Road, Cartersville.
The office is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
McGill may also be reached by calling 770-601-6175 or by emailing www.cityofcartersville.org.
ProWorthy Global is the agency that is organizing the camp and may be reached by phone at 803-351-0500 or email at email@example.com.