Worilds Gives Back to Rambler Nation
Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Jason Worilds is coming off of a stellar 2013 campaign that saw the Carteret-native post career-best marks in starts (11), sacks (8) and tackles (54) while also leading all of the NFL in quarterback hurries. The 26-year old speed rusher returned home to Carteret on Saturday to give back to the town that groomed him to ultimately become the humble star that he has blossomed into, by hosting his second annual football camp.
The camp was provided free-of-charge to the boroughs youth, ranging from grades 4-8. After having limited time to put the camp together last year, Worilds friend and camp organizer, Dan Hapstak spent the last few months taking the necessary steps to ensure that the camp turnout would improve through advanced advertising and promotion.
“I was definitely happy with how everything turned out,” said Hapstak. “We had a lot of late registrations and walk-ups on-top of our registered campers; it made for a great day.
Hapstak added, “The main objective of the camp today was to bring the kids together, bring the community together and give them a positive influence to look up to. Even though it was a football camp, it was more than just football today.”
After roughly 40 kids attended the inaugural camp last year, it drew over 80 attendees on Saturday in its second installment. The kids were given Jason Worilds tee-shirts and wrist bands upon checking-in and were put through rigorous football position drills by volunteer coaches throughout the day. After a flag-football game with Worilds, campers were treated to lunch and a photo and autograph session with the Steelers star.
“All of the kids that came out did a real good job and had a lot of fun working with Jay,” said camp coach Joe McNelis. “He does this for the kids every year and it is really a testament to his character; how he comes back and does this for free, no kid pays a dime for this and it just shows how he really cares about this town.”
Worilds understands the importance of community and giving back to the place that helped him lay the ground work for his eventual NFL stardom.
“Carteret is the place that nurtured me,” Worilds said. “Football is number-one in this town. So, to come back and see so many athletes enthused about the camp and the overall support from the town to the parents; it is just a great place to be. Growing up in this town, I would have been excited for something like this if I had that opportunity. To have the chance to give that to these kids is something that I believe in.”
Worilds added, “I was excited about the camp and its second year. I’m very happy about the turnout today and I am already looking forward to doing it again next year.”
Beyond the gridiron, Worilds message to the Carteret youth was one driven by hard-work and determination. He spoke to the kids about the importance of staying humble and dedicating their time to better their lives. That is something that many of Worilds former high school classmates remember best about the star linebacker before he achieved fame.
“Jay is still the same exact guy that I met my freshman year of high school,” said Hapstak. “He has always been humble but confident. He was always positive and walked with his head up and strived to be better.”
Camp coach and Worilds former Rambler teammate, Jerry Spiga added, “Jay means everything to this town. He is one of us who went off into the world and actually made something of himself on his own. That means a lot to us and it is a testament to his hard-work and dedication.”
Worilds was among the most recruited high school players in the country when he graduated from Carteret in 2006. The immense talent has always been visible but it takes more than just advanced speed or rushing ability to reach the point that he has.
“I’ve always known that being in this position was a possibility, but I wasn’t really thinking that far ahead when I was in high school,” said Worilds. “But, I also knew that I had a dream and I knew that I was willing to work to achieve it.”
Worilds hit the NFL free-agent market this past March and was regarded by most executives around the league as the top outside linebacker available. Knowing that there would be a plethora of teams coveting him, the Steelers slapped the transition tag on Worilds that will pay him $9.754 million to remain in Pittsburgh in 2014. Fully entrenched as a starter for the first-time in his career, Worilds is excited about that security.
“It’s neat to go into training camp in this position,” explained Worilds. “The league that we play in is not really a place for guys to be comfortable so I’m looking forward to taking advantage of this opportunity to go out there and help my team win as many games as possible.”
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