Two-time Super Bowl winner and Eastern Regional High School graduate Logan Ryan will host his fourth Thursday Night Lights youth football camp on Thursday, June 29, at his alma mater.
It marks the first summer camp for kids 8 to 18 that Ryan has hosted since COVID. Participants from the Philadelphia region will join him and some of his fellow NFL teammates for a day of football-inspired drills, life-skills development and educational-leadership exercises.
The names of players who will join Ryan will not be announced until the camp to surprise attendees.
“These kids are getting the opportunity to compete on the same field that made my dreams come true, where I was working out every night in the summer,’’ he said of the high school. “They will be on the same field with the same coaches who helped me achieve my goal of making it to the NFL.”
Ryan has spent 10 years in the NFL, most recently with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. A native of Berlin Borough, he was a standout in high school, playing defensive back and quarterback for the Vikings. He attended Rutgers University, then was drafted by the New England Patriots in the third round of the 2013 NFL draft.
Ryan’s free kids’ camp will also feature an intense workout schedule and set of drills that he said will emulate the regimen he practiced at Eastern.
“Eastern was where I trained, where my (football) dreams came through,” he recalled. “I was a Berlin kid who had opportunities to go to other (private) schools, but I decided to go to public school. It’s where I got my Division 1 scholarships.
“The opportunity to bring it back home is really important to me,” Ryan noted of the camp. “I’m a South Jersey-born, South Jersey-raised kid. I want the kids to feel everything I felt on that field. The coaches who impact my camp were my Little League coaches. Eastern coaches will coach the camp, Rutgers’ coaches.
“All the people who helped me will be there to help these kids.”
Ryan wants to play pro football for an 11th year, despite an injury-filled 2022 season in which he suffered a broken foot while helping Tampa Bay get to the playoffs. He has yet to decide on another NFL team, but will continue working in the offseason until the right situation comes along.
“I’m still working out six days a week, as hard as I ever have been,” explained Ryan, who has also played for the New York Giants and Tennessee Titans. “At this point in my career, I can be selective. It’s more about fit for me than anything.”
Off the field, Ryan is busy running an animal shelter with his wife Ashley. The Ryan Animal Rescue Foundation (RARF), according to its website, is the largest minority-owned animal rescue in the country. It helps care for animals in need and supports the animal welfare community with financial and educational resources.
The Ryans started their foundation in 2017 for adoptable dogs and cats. The couple wants to be a voice for animals who are voiceless; they grew up with dogs and now have some of their own.
“We do anything from spay and neuter clinics to dog-food drives to (other things),” Ryan pointed out. “Anything that we feel is a pressing issue, (we) attack. We feel really strongly about pet retention. We want people to keep their animals after adoption, not adopt them and return them.
“People that love animals have a good heart,” he added. “I like being around those types of people.”
Ryan runs a company with his father Lester, a 25-year veteran of the Camden police. Ryan Alternative Solutions Training – or RAST – is a tool for officers to work on deescalation tactics to reduce police-involved shootings.
“We help build that relationship between the community and police,” the younger Ryan said. “We work with the NYPD (New York City Police Department), the Berlin Borough … We work with police departments (all over the country).”
Registration for the Thursday Night Lights football camp is open now and Ryan encourages early sign-ups, since it usually sells out. Enrollment for this year will be 250.
The registration link is as follows https://loganryancamp.eventbrite.com. To support RARF, visit its website at https://www.rarf.org/