It was also the first time Taylor was introduced as a former Miami Dolphin as he retired at the end of last season following a prolific 15-year career.
“The older you get the more extinct you get so it’s great to have an active guy and a good guy like Reggie to partner with,” said Taylor, who is sixth all-time in the NFL in career sacks with 139.5 and made it to six Pro Bowls. “It’s been great and we have a lot of kids out here today. We can’t bring anyone new tomorrow because we’re at capacity and in a great facility and some great hosts.”
Boys and girls between the ages of 7 and 14 occupied just about every corner of the indoor practice field as they took instruction from Taylor, Bush and other coaches on the fundamentals of football. They also learned about the team concept and after a series of position-specific drills they broke up into teams for some games.
There was a good mix of kids that earned scholarships from the Jason Taylor Foundation and kids whose parents paid for them to enjoy this unique experience. Bush has been a strong believer in giving back to the youth population ever since he first got to experience something similar as a kid.
“I grew up in the Martin Bayless Camp in San Diego that I used to go to every year and I remember the main professional athlete that we used to always look forward to seeing was Junior Seau,” Bush said. “Obviously, he’s not with is anymore but that was my fondest memory. We couldn’t wait for Junior Seau to show up and to get a chance to maybe speak to him and get a picture with him.”
Now Bush is on the other side of that coin, being the one these kids couldn’t wait to meet and talk to and get his autograph. Like Taylor, he genuinely took an interest during the drills and teaching the proper techniques and before the games started he strengthened his arm by signing a number of footballs, hats and shirts.
“The camp was great and I think it stuck with me all the way up and until now and is one of the reasons why I’m doing this camp and giving back. So because Martin Bayless did those camps he kind of instilled that giveback mentality at an early age, now here we are. It’s a blessing to see the look in these kids’ eyes and to be able to put a smile on their faces and I remember what it felt like for me.”
In addition to the top-flight instruction and the opportunity to meet Bush and Taylor, each camper received more than $150 worth of special merchandise, including an autographed camp team photo with Taylor and Bush, a T-shirt and a goodie back with the chance to win other prizes.
All of the proceeds from the camp benefit the Jason Taylor Foundation and for Taylor he’s been able to somewhat satisfy the football itch now that his playing days are over. But helping the kids is paramount to him.
“I think it’s important for all of us. Regardless of what walk of life we’re in, if we have an opportunity to give back and help somebody else out I think it’s important,” Taylor said. “Most of all I enjoy doing it. It is fun watching the chaos and watching the kids competing and have fun diving around. When I was a kid I would have loved to have gone to a professional football team’s facility and had a chance to have a camp and do these kinds of things. So the kids have fun doing it but I have just as much fun as they do.”