For Will Blackmon and Kyle Rowley, the game of football has been rewarding. As two of the most recognizable and accomplished Rhode Islanders to set foot on the gridiron, each of them knows the value of the game’s contributions to their lives.

For the first time, the two former Rhode Island All-Staters will team up to host the inaugural Blackmon/Rowley Combine Camp on Sunday, July 15, 2018. The Combine will be held from 8 a.m.- 1 p.m. at Bishop Hendricken High School in Warwick, Rhode Island. This combine is for high school players looking to get recruited. College coaches, professionals and RiVALS Scout will be on hand. Both Blackmon and Rowley are Hendricken alumni.

In addition to his success at Hendricken, Blackmon has enjoyed great success at both the collegiate and professional levels. He was a standout at Boston College, before going on to spend 11 years in the NFL. He has played defensive back for the Washington Redskins, Green Bay Packers, and Jacksonville Jaguars. Blackmon also earned a Super Bowl ring with the New York Giants in Super Bowl XLVI. He has also been seen as a studio analyst on the NFL Network.

Despite his great success, Blackmon remains rooted in the work ethic and family values he learned as a young man in Rhode Island. For this reason, he has always enthusiastically seized the opportunity to give back. On Saturday, July 14 (the day prior to the Combine Camp), Blackmon will host his fourth annual Will Blackmon Football camp. The camp is open to youth 7- to 14-years-old, and is designed to teach basic football skills in a fun, yet competitive setting. It is supported through a grant from the NFL Foundation and is free to all participants. Blackmon expressed his dedication to helping impart his wisdom and fundamentals in saying:

Will Blackmon hosts free youth football clinic (cred: Deb Weinreich)

“I love coming back home to RI. It’s important to me to give back to the community and offer this camp for kids who may not otherwise have the opportunity to participate.”

Rowley is a former two-time All-State quarterback at Hendricken. After a stellar collegiate career as a quarterback at Brown University, he spent 14 years playing professionally in the Arena Football League. Rowley won two national championships with the Spokane Shock, and also won two MVP awards. During his tenure, Rowley broke the All-Time Single Game Touchdown Record (12 TDs) and the All-Time Arena Bowl Touchdown Record (10 TDs). Much like Blackmon, Rowley knows the value of paying it forward. Currently, as Director of Rowley Quarterbacks, he has become one of the most prominent quarterback trainers in the northeast. Rowley has been quoted as saying:

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“Players are looking for a proven path to success. I show them a path.”

With the Combine Camp, local high schoolers will be given the opportunity to learn from some of the most respected football minds in New England. In addition to Blackmon and Rowley, former New England Patriots center Dan Koppen, former Brown University, and Tennessee Titans wide receiver Bobby Sewall, former Bryant University-wide receiver Matt Sewall and former Bentley University quarterback Mack Lowrie will be conducting combine drills and workouts. Both Rowley and Blackmon are eager to provide the opportunity to help showcase the budding football talent in southern New England.

Will Blackmon conducts youth football clinic at Bishop Hendricken High School, Warwick, RI (cred: Deb Weinreich)

“When I was in high school (at Hendricken) I never had the opportunity to go to a local combine. My dad had to drive me up and down the East Coast to be seen,” said Blackmon “Kyle and I want to provide the opportunity here in RI for local high school players to be seen and get recruited. Kyle and I believe our kids in RI can compete with anyone, regardless of where they are from. We are really excited to host this combine at Hendricken and bring something great to help our own football players in Rhode Island get noticed.”

The Fourth Annual Will Blackmon Football Camp and Inaugural Rowley/Blackmon Combine have partnered with USA Football, NFLPA, RIVALS, RI Army National Guard, Nuts ‘N More, BankRI, Adidas, Northeast Sports Training, Beacon Shipping, Dirty Couture, BankRI, Bishop Hendricken High School and 4 Corners Coffee.

Space is limited. To register, visit: 

Deb Weinreich also contributed to this story.

Mike D’Abate is a Managing Editor and National Columnist for Full Press Coverage Sports Media. He covers the New England Patriots and the NFL. Follow him on Twitter @mdabateFPC

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