Coming into the 2012 season, the Jacksonville Jaguars had high hopes due to the drafting of the outstanding wide receiver Justin Blackmon and also posting 3-1 record during the preseason. But after just finishing 2-14 on the season the team is in a major overhaul by firing mostly all of the coaches and general manager. Marcedes Lewis however, feels like these moves had to be done to start moving the team back in the right direction.
“The biggest change for 2013 has already happened. They cleared out the front office, all coaches are different, and they are cutting guys right and left. “I check every day on Jaguars.com to make sure I have my job…just kidding (chuckles)”, said Lewis, “I believe that everything that had to be done is done and I am just ready to get back.”
Before Lewis starts thinking about the 2013/14 season, he’s focused on his 5th Annual Football Camp in June. The charitable football camp is free of charge to all local children, thanks to another one of his yearly endeavors, The Marcedes Lewis Foundation’s 4th Annual Casino Night Charity, which took place this month. Here Lewis puts his black jack skills to work to raise funds alongside his buddies who helped cover the needed costs for the camp by participating.
With the work of the Mercedes Lewis foundation’s charitable night and the generosity of the local community, all local children will be able to participate in this all encompassing camp. The goal of awarding scholarships to youth who otherwise would not be able to participate in youth sports, will be fulfilled. Lewis explains the foundation was created by Marcedes Lewis and his mother to give back to children from his neighborhood.
“The foundation originated sitting at home with my mom talking about giving back. It has been something I always wanted to do since I was younger. Once I felt I was on the platform to do that, she (my mother) did all the ground herself and here we are today.
The purpose of the football camp is to teach young children that there is more to life than just football and other sports. The concepts of embracing discipline, teamwork, and the importance of education are stressed upon all children attending the camp. Along with the work with the camp, the foundation will follow the progress of the children throughout their education in the hope of being able to assist in college necessities that he/she may develop as they enter college.
“It is a camp that allows al the youth 7-17 to have a good time. It is free and I know you don’t hear that too often. Everyone from the inner city where I grew up at came out. It’s almost like a human relations camp, as well. We have the police department and fire departments come speak…It’s a good deal.” said Lewis
In true philanthropist spirit Lewis added, “The Foundation is just a foundation, but if you don’t have people around you to support it and just me standing here by myself it wouldn’t matter… I place it upon myself to always be there; whether it’s a casino night or a football camp I will always be there (for this cause supporting youth).”
Checkout Video of 5th Annual Casino Night:
The camp would not be where it is today if it was not for the help of all the coaches and present NFL players who show up and help out.
“Just being exposed to all of these NFL players and just the presence of them and how magical it was for me. To be able to do the same thing for some of these kids, I had no choice but come out and help I just had to” said Gerald Alexander of the Carolina Panthers.
Marcedes recognizes the gifts that a NFL player can give back to all youth looking up to them as role models.
“Just seeing all these kids out here having a great time it really means a lot to me because I was in their shoes before and I know what it is like receiving instructions from NFL guys. This is just something I have always wanted to do for years, and I am now on the platform to do it” said Lewis.
Lewis has also been able to make an impact on the gridiron as well. He was able to record his second largest receiving yards and touchdown total in the 2012/13 season. With the help of the newly drafted wide receiver Justin Blackmon, Lewis was able to find more space when running his routes as he was able to record a total of 540 yards and 4 touchdowns on the season. Lewis has been able to stay healthy and productive during his 7 year career starting a total of 96 games.
–By Colin Spriggs and Theresa Villano
–Photography and Video Editing by Zach Dripps
More stories you might like