Rolling Out

NFL gives back to Detroit youth by hosting Special Olympics clinic

City’s natives all smiles through chilly weather conditions

As the NFL takes its draft to the Motor City this spring, the league made sure it gave back to the people.

On April 24, the league hosted the Special Olympics for a Play Football Prospect Clinic with some of this year’s top prospects, such as quarterbacks Caleb Williams and Jayden Daniels.

Caleb Williams
Caleb Williams, the projected overall 2024 NFL Draft No. 1 pick, takes a selfie with a fan in Detroit before the draft (Photo credit: Rashad Milligan for rolling out)

“It was great,” Williams said. “I had a blast. I don’t know if y’all were watching, but I had a blast. I was out there, running around, throwing it, defending, just an all-around athlete around these kids.

“But it was great to be around them. It seemed like they had a great time … it was really a joy for me.”

After the event, rolling out had the opportunity to catch up with Denise Jeanes, a paraprofessional at Diann Banks-Williamson Education Center, and 19-year-old athlete Steven Houston.

What was the flag football experience like today?

Houston: I really just like bowling, and this was my first time playing flag football. I was really nervous about it at first, but I was like, “OK. It’s a new thing; I’ll try it.” It was really fun, and thank you guys for having me. Shout out to Corner Ball Park!

Jeanes: It’s all wonderful to see all students get an opportunity to play flag football, to come down here to Corner Park, which used to be the [Detroit] Tigers’ stadium when I was a kid. It’s just wonderful, and it was a wonderful experience for all of them.
I’m so happy.

NFL Play Football
NFL Play Football participants and Detroit students (Photo credit: Rashad Milligan for rolling out)

What does it mean to you to see the NFL not only host the draft here this year, but reach out to the community and do an event like this?

Jeanes: It’s a wonderful thing to reach out to the community because we have always thought the center of focus was downtown, but to branch out and reach to the school districts, especially Detroit Public Schools Community District, for our students not to be forgotten is a wonderful thing.

What else do you want to say to the NFL?

Houston: Thanks to you guys, I had a really great experience playing flag football.

I loved it. I loved every part of it even if it was freezing cold.

Jeanes: Thank y’all for being in Detroit. I was born and raised here, so it’s a wonderful thing.

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