Former pros urge local players to ‘pick a dream’Photo:3535729,left;Photo:3535729,left; | PostIndependent.com
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Former pros urge local players to ‘pick a dream’Photo:3535729,left;Photo:3535729,left;

CARBONDALE – Their backgrounds were different, but the message was the same when five former college and pro football players mingled with prep hopefuls at Roaring Fork High School on Saturday.”Pick a dream. Work hard. Believe in yourself and go for it,” were the key components of a talk led by former Denver Bronco wide receiver Rick Upchurch.The former NFL players spoke to football teams from Glenwood Springs, Roaring Fork and Basalt high schools.

The former pros, which included Upchurch, Leonard Renfro, Tim Lucas, Wade Manning and Jeff Campbell were in town this weekend to help raise funds for the Roaring Fork Sports Foundation, which supports area youth and high school football programs.The annual event included a golf tournament and dinner at the Aspen Glen Golf Club on Saturday.Before heading to the links, each of the pros gave out equal doses of instruction and wisdom to the assembled high schoolers.Campbell, who played prep football at nearby Battle Mountain High School, was excited about making the trip to Carbondale.

“It’s awesome to come home,” said Campbell of coming back to the Western Slope.But, his memories of Carbondale are somewhat tainted.”The last time I came here I was laid out over there at the 3-yard line,” Campbell recalled as his pointed toward the football field’s north end zone.The play Campbell mentioned was the turning point of Roaring Fork’s win over Campbell’s Huskies in the 1985 Class 2A state championship football game.



After high school Campbell was a star wide receiver at Colorado University from 1986-89, then played in the National Football League for five seasons as a member of the Detroit Lions and Denver Broncos.For Upchurch, a longtime Broncos star, Saturday was a homecoming.”I’ve watched a lot of you guys grow up, and I followed you in the newspapers last year,” said Upchurch of Roaring Fork’s run in the state football playoffs last season.Upchurch has made trips to the valley with his Rare Breed football camp for seven years and is scheduled to return for a youth camp in August.Upchurch has made trips to the valley with his Rare Breed football camp for seven years and is scheduled to return for a youth camp in August.


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