NFL player teaches skills and life lessons in camp at Oak Mountain

National Football League star linebacker Karlos Dansby didn’t have an opportunity to be mentored by a pro football player growing up as a standout athlete in the Woodlawn community in Birmingham.

Dansby learned his trade and sharpened his skills without the assistance of an NFL player.

Now that he’s reached his peak as a starting linebacker for the Miami Dolphins, Dansby wanted to give the next generation more opportunities than he had as a child.

Dansby fulfills his mission by offering the Karlos Dansby All-Star Football Camp, which was held free of charge June 19 at Oak Mountain High School.

Campers ages 8-18 rotated to different football skill sessions, including a defensive drill by Dansby, from 9 a.m.-noon. Dansby taught youth football players football techniques and shared advice for life outside of football to nearly 350 youngsters from the Birmingham metro area.

“I wish I would have had a free camp to go to,” Dansby said. “I never had the opportunity to attend one of these camps. For me to come back and give it to them for free, it’s perfect.”

The camp also featured Oak Mountain youth football coaches, along with a few of Dansby’s family members. The camp, which was organized by the France All-Pro Athlete Management team, allowed youngsters to get football training and life lessons from a professional football player.

Each camper also went home with an autographed t-shirt.

Dansby said he was glad he could help out the youth around the community he grew up in.

“This is a great event,” Dansby said. “I’m glad I’m able to come back and give back to the community and these kids, to teach them and give them a couple of pointers to carry them on through their career and their life.”

Dansby, who starred at Auburn University before being drafted by the Arizona Cardinals in the 2004 NFL Draft, said he saw a lot of potential in his campers. Dansby made the NFL’s All-Rookie team as a first-year pro in 2004 and helped the Cardinals win the NFC championship in 2009.

“I see myself in so many of these kids,” Dansby said. “They have the potential to be something great, even if it’s not in football, just in life in general.”