Football: T.F. South alum Pierre Thomas gives back to community at his football camp
By Steve Millar For Sun-Times Media June 24, 2014 9:38PM
Updated: July 27, 2014 8:06AM
Pierre Thomas ended the last NFL season unsure of his future. Rumors that the New Orleans Saints were trying to trade him ran rampant.
Instead, the Saints traded fellow running back Darren Sproles and signed Thomas to a three-year contract extension.
“It’s a blessing,” Thomas said. “I started there. I told myself that I’d been there for a while and I want to end (my career) there. I feel like it’s my second home.
“I’m part of New Orleans now. I’m happy with the organization. I’m glad I went to a great organization from the beginning. I’m ready to win another Super Bowl with the Saints.”
Thomas is extra grateful this summer and, as usual, looking to give back.
Tuesday, the Lynwood native was back at his alma mater, T.F. South, for his annual youth football camp.
Several dozen young players came out to train with Thomas and the T.F. South coaching staff and players.
“This is where I grew up,” Thomas said. “This is home for me. You always want to give back to where you started. I’ll never forget what the people in this community did for me. When I grew up there was nothing like this. We didn’t have guys who made it in football from this area.
“This is a chance for me to show these kids someone from their area, their town, who made it. Hopefully I can give them some kind of drive, some kind of motivation.”
Thomas, who totaled more than 1,000 yards from scrimmage last season — 549 rushing and 513 receiving — has made a habit of giving back to the Rebels. In addition to the camp, he presented the program a check for $13,000 last summer for new uniforms.
“It just tells you a lot about Pierre,” T.F. South coach Tom Padjen said. “He’s great. He loves giving back to the community. He enjoys coming out here and spending some time with the kids and also some of our varsity athletes. He’s a great role model for them.
“It’s something special to have him come back. He’s a special young man. He’s entering his eighth year in the NFL. He’s outlived the life expectancy of most NFL running backs. He’s had a very successful career and we’re looking forward to seeing what he can do in 2014.”
The camp was part of Thomas’ iCAN Foundation, a program designed to promote the fight against childhood obesity.
“This is for kids to get out and get active,” Thomas said. “You don’t have to be the most talented kid out there. As long as you’re out here trying and giving it all you can, that’s what matters. It doesn’t matter if you’re not the best player.
“I’m not the best at a lot of things, but I try and I work hard to improve.”