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Patrick Willis Returns to West Tennessee

By Cyndi Lundeberg
By Clundeberg@wbbjtv.com

BRUCETON, Tenn. - No matter how famous Patrick Willis gets, it seems he will never be too big for his small town roots. Sunday, July 7th, Willis hosted the first ever Pro Camps day of football at his old alma matter.

Five year old Britey Roberts can't believe he's so lucky to be working with Willis. "Patrick Willis, I saw him right over there!!" he said after he spotted the football star.

The 49er player didn't have the easiest childhood, and says that's why he's doing what he can to save other children from a similar fate. The 250 five to fourteen year old football players who attended the camp couldn't be more excited.

WBBJ asked Hudson Bolston what made this day of playing football so special for me, "Because Patrick Willis is here!" he responded.

Even with season opener against the Green Bay Packers looming, Willis says his focus is solely on the kids.

"It's truly a blessing to come back to my hometown where it all started for me. To be able to come back and just give you guys a little bit, sometimes I wish I could do a lot more, but sometimes doing something is better than doing nothing at all," Willis said.

The West Tennessee native who once ruled the fields where his camp was hosted says, Pro Camps is about more than just football, it's about inspiring kids and remembering where he came from.

"At the end of the day it's all about coming together. It's all about making your community strong," he said.

Carla Jones' says her sons favorite player is Patrick Willis, and the fact he got to meet him was a dream come true. "This is a very small area so it's a big deal! Like they said, he could be doing anything today but he comes here."

The camps' players were split into teams to practice drills and learn the game from Willis himself, but what he hopes the camp taught them most is to never give up on themselves.

"It's those ones doubting you and those ones who don't think you can who push you that much harder. Just show belief in yourself and knowing what you're capable of and knowing what you've worked so hard for," he said.

Willis says he hopes this camp can become an annual tradition for Bruceton.
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