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‘These kids can do it too’: Local NFL player comes home to help next generation on the gridiron

Local NFL player Chuba Hubbard was in Sherwood Park on Sunday to hold a free football camp for kids.

The running back, who grew up in Sherwood Park, was drafted by the Carolina Panthers in 2021. This is the second year he has travelled home to offer his community an experience he never had.

“I put on this camp because I love giving back to my community,” Hubbard said. “At a young age, I always wished to have something like this.”

The free two-day camp was for kids and youth aged six to 18. Participants learned skills, ran drills and played games against one another – with a strong focus on technique.

“A lot of people shy away from Edmonton (and) Canada … because we just don’t have the coaching,” Hubbard said. “So I try to be hard on them, I try to really nail it in them.”

Several other professional football players attended the event, including Justice Hill of the Baltimore Ravens, Devin Harper of the Cincinnati Bengals and Jacob Janke of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.

“It’s a two-hour drive but it’s worth it to be here,” said an attendee from Red Deer. “It seems better than what I’ve gotten in my hometown.”

Hubbard’s former football coach Ken Buhagiar said the player’s strong work-ethic has taken him far and he’s happy to see him share it with others.

“I (know) how big his heart is and what his values are, so to now see other people be able to see that is, to me, phenomenal,” Buhagiar said.

Hubbard said there weren’t many Canadians in the NFL when he was learning the game in Alberta, and he’s hoping to continue being part of changing that.

“We’re blessed to have a lot of NFL players in the last recent years make it, but before me I didn’t really know of anybody,” Hubbard said. “We’re just here to show an example that these kids can do it too.”

With files from CTV News Edmonton’s Miriam Valdes-Carletti

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