Champ Kelly paced back and forth on the Raiders practice field channeling his inner defensive backs coach.
Several times while moving station to station at C.H.A.M.P Camp – his annual youth football camp – on Saturday, the Raiders assistant general manager stopped in his tracks to give instruction on drills. The usually soft-spoken man displayed a different side of himself. He could be heard from several fields away, coaching up the young players in attendance.
"Switch your hips. Change direction. Don't look for the ball."
With his hands-on approach and attention to detail with each camper, it seemed there was nowhere else Kelly would rather be at that moment.
"Growing up, I didn't have the means or the funds to go to some of the best football camps, but I loved the game of football," said Kelly, with his wife, Stephanie, and their daughters by his side during the event.
"Me and my wife, we always talked about it, if we were ever in a position to give back to the youth who are in search or in need of encouragement [or] support – then we would provide that. Using the avenue that I've been blessed with, the knowledge to be a part of this game of football, to be able to give it back is a benefit to myself and it's what we love to do."
Nevada is the sixth state in a decade that Kelly has hosted C.H.A.M.P Camp in. This year's two-day event at Intermountain Health Performance Center brought out over 200 local middle schoolers and high schoolers to develop their skills on and off the field with individual drills, 1-on-1s and 7-on-7 team periods.
"The Raiders have been great when it comes to our community and involving themselves with our high school," said Deumaine Reeder, head football coach at Clark High School. "They've always reached out for different opportunities for our young men. And now the knowledge that I've gained, I get to opportunity to impart that upon our high school kids at Clark High School. What a great thing to be a part of. ... Champ is a great, great guy. I can't speak anymore highly of him."
Kelly had a full army around him assisting the campers in drills and activities, including members of local high school coaching staffs and the Raiders' 2023 rookie class that Kelly played a hand in evaluating and bringing to Las Vegas.
"I'm excited for our rookies to have the opportunity to show their face, and they're loving what they're doing right now," Kelly said. "They're coaching and they're investing in kids what they've learned over the last few months and the last few years of their life."
Not only was the camp a great opportunity for the aspiring youth football players, but it was another chance for the Silver and Black newcomers to build chemistry with one another and learn more about the community they are now in.
"Coming up as a little kid, I went to a lot of camps like this thrown by former NFL players, other schools and colleges. But this is the first one I've been to thrown by an assistant GM. That's what's really special about this," said Chris Smith II, the Raiders' fifth-round pick from Georgia. "That just attests back to Champ Kelly's character. And being able to give back to the community is so special, to be able to give back what was given to me when I was a little kid."
Nearly 10,000 kids have attended Kelly's camps throughout the years, and several of his former campers have made their way into the NFL as well. While Kelly's job duties involve him growing the developing the Raiders roster, his life goals remain helping young men become leaders of men.
"The C.H.A.M.P doesn't stand for Champ Kelly," he explained. "C.H.A.M.P stands for 'commitment, humility, attitude, motivation and poise.' I think those five principals [are] what we're hoping to instill into the campers here. Hopefully we teach them something about the game of football, but they also learn about the game of life."
The Las Vegas Raiders football staff, in collaboration with Assistant General Manager Champ Kelly, hosted C.H.A.M.P. Camp, a weekend event for athletes to develop their skills on and off the field.