NFL veteran looks back to prep days
Tim Lucas looked across the football field at Roaring Fork High School in Carbondale and he saw California.
Mount Sopris appeared in Lucas’ eye, but the Sacramento Valley of Northern California appeared in Lucas’ mind.
“I grew up in a small town in California; I went to a high school about the same size as this school,” Lucas said Saturday morning as he watched the local high school teams engage in a flag football passing scrimmage.
“I told the guys to enjoy this … enjoy high school football,” said Lucas, a four-sport prep standout in Rio Vista, Calif., who went on to college and professional football.
“Most of them won’t have a chance to go on and play college football or play in the NFL,” he said.
“They need to enjoy this right here,” said Lucas, who addressed the players from Roaring Fork, Glenwood Springs and Basalt high schools Saturday as part of the Roaring Fork Football Foundation’s annual Kickoff Classic.
Lucas was one of a distinguished list of NFL players who turned out for the annual football foundation charity event, based at Aspen Glen. The fund-raiser included a silent auction and Calcutta, a round of golf at fabled Aspen Glen course and a dinner party.
The NFL players also helped the area high school players as they worked on their passing games and secondary play Saturday morning at the RFHS field in Carbondale.
Lucas, for one, was more than happy to offer advice to the young football players.
He told the players to take advantage of the opportunity to play several sports in high school.
“I encouraged them to do that,” he said, adding that the school size in this area is a real bonus for high school student-athletes.
“These guys have a great opportunity; they can play every sport,” Lucas said. “That’s invaluable.”
He also told the high school football hopefuls to plan and prepare for life after football.
With an undergraduate degree from the University of California at Berkeley, Lucas completed his master’s degree in business administration from the University of Denver while he finished his NFL career with the Broncos.
Now the personable Lucas runs his own software company in Denver.
“I’ve made the transition,” he said, adding that he’s still looking for ways to satisfy his competitive needs left over from the NFL. Basketball, competitive basketball, is a big help, he said.
And he’s looking ahead to competing in triathlons and duathlons and the like … “just for the competition,” said Lucas, who played in the NFL for nearly a decade as a linebacker and special teams standout.
He also credited the tremendous efforts of the Roaring Fork Foundation folks, led by Rock Leonard and TJ Joiner and a host of other supporters, for creating an event like the Kickoff Classic.
Lucas also saved special praise for the high school coaches who were out working with their players on a Saturday morning in June.
“I had a coach – my baseball and football coach all the way up through high school – who was very special to me. We still stay in touch,” Lucas added.
“Yes, you’ve got to give these guys credit,” he said as he watched Tory Jensen, child in tow, direct the Roaring Fork Rams.
Craig Denney and Jim Hoffman worked with the Glenwood Demons.
Kent Shorten and his staff led the Basalt Longhorns.
“This is a great event; we’re happy to be here. These people do a great job (for high school football),” he said.
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The Roaring Fork High School baseball team was deadlocked with the visiting Gunnison Cowboys in Carbondale through the final three frames Tuesday, before falling 16-9 in nine innings.