Lachavious Simmons motivating Selma kids, that they ‘can make it’ too

Published 4:26 pm Saturday, June 29, 2024

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Lachavious Simmons always wanted to come back home to Selma and do a football camp after getting into the NFL.

Saturday fulfilled that dream for Simmons as he hosted the Lachavious Simmons football camp at Selma’s Memorial Stadium. A person who played a key role in that dream was Michael Johnson, a Dallas County High School graduate who had a 10-year career as a defensive end in the NFL.

“It has always been a dream of mine ever since I was little, ever since I experienced Michael Johnson camp,” Simmons said. “And it was great having him out here. I was telling him it was just God, man, because right after I was talking about him in an interview, he ended up giving me a phone call, and then he was telling me he wanted to be a part of it. And it was just exciting because he’s the main reason I did, and he was one of the reasons that inspired me to go to the next level, to the NFL. And that’s all I want to do is inspire this next group, this next group of kids, and give ‘em motivation that they can make it from the city too.”

Michael Johnson, left, talks with Auburn offensive lineman Jeremiah Wright. Johnson played 10 years in the NFL, mostly with the Cincinnati Bengals. | Brent Maze, The Selma Times-Journal

Johnson lends a hand

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Johnson said he saw the event on social media, and he said he just wanted to help out.

“Anything that any of our athletes come back and get involved with, I’m able to help out and lend a hand too,” Johnson said. “I think it’s great what he’s doing. I think it’s a great example that he’s set, and I’m just so happy for the success he’s had. And I’m proud that he’s from Selma.”

Lachavious Simmons shows a camper how to wrap up for a tackle after doing a drill during Simmons’s camp at Memorial Stadium Saturday, June 29. | Brent Maze, The Selma Times Journal

Simmons excited for his opportunity

Simmons, a graduate of Tennessee State, was selected by the Chicago Bears in the 2020 draft. He played in two games, starting one, during the 2021 season. He then signed with the Arizona Cardinals before finally signing with the Tennessee Titans in November.

Simmons said he is grateful for his opportunity back in the area where he played his college ball.

“I’ve got an opportunity to work with coach Bill Callahan. He’s one of the greatest offensive line coaches in the NFL,” Simmons said. “I’m excited for this opportunity that the Titans have given me, and I’m back in Nashville where I played college at. It’s like I’m back at home, so I’m just excited and ready to get out there and get to work  — to put my best foot forward.”

Jeremiah Wright, a Selma graduate and an offensive lineman at Auburn, organizes a play during a flag football game at the Lachavious Simmons football camp at Memorial Stadium Saturday, June 29. | Brent Maze, The Selma Times-Journal

Wright comes home to help

At least 50 local kids came out and participated in the camp. Simmons set up several drills including sprints, tackling stations and footwork obstacles to help teach the campers some skills needed for football. They also played several games of flag football.

In addition to Johnson, Auburn offensive tackle Jeremiah Wright also helped out with the camp. He said he and Simmons talk frequently, but it was a no-brainer for him to come back and help Simmons inspire the next generation.

“I just came out here to help with the kids and give back to the community,” Wright said. “He’s already at the next level. He knows how things are. Just being able to give back to the community and Selma, it makes a big difference because some of these kids, you know, they don’t have a lot of opportunities to do some of these things that he has out here for them.”

Lachavious Simmons helps a camper stay hydrated during Simmons’s camp at Memorial Stadium Saturday, June 29. | Brent Maze, The Selma Times-Journal

Instilling hope

Simmons knows that Selma has a lot of talent, and he wants to make sure that those kids get the chance to pursue their dreams.

“With a small city like us, there’s so much talent down here, and the kids, they just need hope. I just want to give a little hope to ’em, know what I’m saying? That they can do it. People from a small town like this can do it like me,” Simmons said. “I just want to keep motivating kids and keep that drive in them.”