By Joseph Santoliquito
PHILADELPHIA, PA (CBS)— The beauty of Jahri Evans is that he has never changed. The six-time Pro Bowler and four-time All-Pro New Orleans Saints guard out of Frankford High School has never let money, or success, or stardom dim what has made him great.
In nine NFL seasons Evans has been to six-straight Pro Bowls.
It’s the reason why each spring Evans makes the trek back to Frankford High, where it started, to give back to the community that helped make him who he’s become.
This Saturday, Evans will be holding the 8th Annual Jahri Evans Football Camp, which is free. From 9 a.m. to 11 a.m., Evans will be holding a youth players-cheerleader camp for grades 1-6 (report time is 8 a.m. sharp). From 12 p.m. to 3 p.m., he’ll have the older kids, grades 7-12 (report time is 11 a.m. sharp). All events will be held at the Frankford football field, on Large & Dyre Streets.
On Friday evening, Evans will have a special bowling event for the participants at Dave and Busters at Franklin Mills.
Working with the players will be Eagles’ safety Malcom Jenkins there, as well as Evans’ New Orleans teammates Mark Ingram, a former Heisman Trophy winner, Marques Colson, Parys Haralson and Denver Bronco and Strath Haven grad Steve Johnson.
The NFL is coming off a very bad public relations year, galvanized by the Ray Rice domestic abuse situation, and is currently buried under the “Deflate-gate” drama that’s dominating the headlines.
What gets lost, however, are the multitude of NFL players like Evans, Jenkins, Colson, Ingram and Johnson and their good works they are doing off the field.
“We’re getting more kids and it’s growing more each year,” said Evans, 31, who will be entering his 10th NFL season in September. “We go in and show the kids what we do. Every year I look forward to it. Holding this each year is something that’s important to me.
“They say sometimes the bad things get more headlines than the good things. But there are a lot of guys out there that do good things, like Malcolm Jenkins and Marques Colson, like all of the guys who will give their time to be with these kids on Saturday. For me, it’s just about giving back, because there were so many people who helped me when I was coming up through high school and helped get to where I am today. Those are the people that you don’t forget, and those are the people that I honor by doing this. I really enjoy it.
“It is a shame sometimes to hear bad news about guys. We are a family, and sometimes people forget that. You never want to hear about anyone in trouble. I really don’t know why fans would rather read and hear about bad things than good things. You can control what you can control, and you can’t really control what other guys do. But I like working with these kids every year and it’s something I plan on doing for as long as I can.”
Evans is not just a figurehead. He takes a very active role in the camp each year. He does everything from hand out lunches to work on technique with the older kids. It is an interesting occurrence every spring to see the behemoth Evans head-and-shoulders above the campers, yet interacting with them as if he is one of them.
“Playing in the Public League, they really challenge you, and these kids today are better players and better athletes than I was in high school,” Evans said. “I want to see them succeed. I mean some of these kids come after me, and I’m like, “I can’t let this kid beat me.’ It’s why I want to see these kids head to college, and eventually come get my position, come get to where I am. I always encourage that.”
For information about the 8th Annual Jahri Evans Football camp, please go to http://www.jahrievans.com/youth-football-camp/.
Jahri Evans Football Camp
Frankford High School Football Field
Large & Dyre Sts.
Philadelphia, PA 19124
Saturday May 16th, 2015
FREE Varsity Football Camp (Grades 7-12)
Report Time: 11 a.m. Sharp (Starts 12 p.m. – 3 p.m.)
FREE Youth Football/Cheerleading Camp (Grades 1-6)
Report Time: 8 a.m. Sharp (Starts 9 a.m. – 11 a.m.)