By Gary Curreri
Patrick Peterson said it was important for his inaugural football skills clinic to be in his hometown.
“I was born and raised here in Pompano where there is a great tradition and a lot of great athletes,” said Peterson, 21, a twotime All-Pro defensive back for the Arizona Cardinals. “I felt it was an obligation and a priority for me to come back and give back to the kids and show them that I appreciate them as much as they appreciate me.”
More than 175 youngsters ranging in age from 7 to 17 turned out for the inaugural “Patrick Peterson Skilled Football Camp” at the Four Fields Sports Complex in Pompano Beach recently. Peterson’s parents, Patrick Sr. and Shanera, were also on-hand to help out. The age group ranged from 7 to 17, and he made it a point to greet every camper individually.
Many of Peterson’s pro and college teammates were on-hand to help Peterson deliver his message that reinforces the values of hard work and respect that he learned as a young man.
“Hard work and dedication is what I thrive off of,” Patrick Peterson said. “[My dad and I] continuously worked day in and day out. Even when I was 2 years old, I had a work ethic that I always wanted to be better.
“Not being good enough was never an option,” Peterson continued. “I always wanted to be better than the guy I lined up against. I wanted to be the best player I could be every time I stepped on the field … to show them there are always ways to get better. It is a pleasure to be here and be in these guys’ good graces to give back and share … my football knowledge with them.”
Peterson first started playing youth football with the Pompano Eagles and went on to star at Blanche Ely and LSU before getting drafted by the Cardinals in the first round.
Shanera said her son started to say the word “football” at age 2. She agreed it was important for him to hold his first clinic in his hometown.
“It was very important because, when he started planning it, he always spoke of doing his first camp in Pompano Beach, where he was from,” Shanera said.
Peterson Sr. agreed: “It’s great to see my son giving back and teaching the kids to become something they have always dreamed of.”
The kids paid a $10 fee and got a T-Shirt, lunch, drinks, grab bag with Arizona Cardinals flag, wristband and specialty-made blackout for under their eyes.
Pompano Beach’s Bryce Cunneen, 11, came away impressed.
“It felt great meeting Patrick Peterson because he is a great football player and role model for kids,” said Cunneen, a sixth grader at St. Coleman’s School. “[He] and his dad do a lot for the Pompano Beach community, including his speed and agility training.
“The clinic was awesome,” Cunneen added. “We learned how to be a better athlete and ‘how if you look up to your dreams, you will always go up! Never give up! They taught us a lot with the drills, how to perform at our optimum level! “
Peterson shared one message with the players that he hopes will stick.
“Never give up on your dream and never let anyone tell you that you can’t do anything, even yourself,” Peterson said. “You always have to have confidence in yourself and self motivation, I believe, to be successful.”