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Former NFL player’s camp coming in July

NATCHEZ — The Natchez Celebrity Football Camp will be hosted by former Kansas City Chief offensive lineman Will Shields from July 29-31, and if enough participants sign up, big names could be accompanying Shields.

Shields is an NFL Hall of Famer and 12-time All-Pro offensive guard. He brought his first camp to Natchez last year to Cathedral High School’s Devereaux Stadium, and Cathedral head coach Ron Rushing is hoping for a bigger turnout so Shields can bring more players affiliated with the Kansas City Chiefs.

“We need everybody to go online and sign up,” Rushing said. “The more he gets, the more people he’s likely to bring. Last year, only 25 registered online, so he couldn’t bring a lot of people.”

Rushing said last year’s event only had 47 participants for a camp that offered spots for seventh graders and up. Shields brought former NFL linebacker Gary Stills with him.

Rushing pushed for more grades at this year’s camp and told Shields how he felt it would be more successful given the established youth programs in the area. After talking with Rushing, Shield decided to open it up for second graders and up this year.

“This isn’t a money making deal for him,” Rushing said. “He’s doing it to contribute to the community. It was a great camp last year, and I expect it to be even better this year.”

Shields’ connection to Natchez came when Christopher Garcia, former Cathedral coach Roy Garcia’s son, managed Shields health club and talked to him about bringing a camp down to Natchez.

Rushing said all coaches and all schools are invited to participate in the camp. Every participant will receive the following tests: the 40-yard dash, vertical leap, long jump and 150-yard shuffle.

The second graders through seventh graders will practice in the mornings from 9 a.m. to noon, while the eighth graders to twelfth graders’ camp will run from 6 to 9 p.m.

Cost for the camp is $68 per student, and each student will receive an NFL Play 60 T-shirt.