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Barr Gives Back to Community with Youth Football Camp

LB Anthony Barr recently hosted a youth football camp at Winter Park.

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. — Anthony Barr would have loved to have been one of the hundreds of smiling kids at Saturday's youth football camp at Winter Park.

Being an adult wasn't that bad either. While Barr is no longer a kid, the 25-year-old still had plenty of fun by giving back to the Minnesota community.

The Southern California native helped host the Hyundai Youth Football Camp as roughly 600 kids spent a few hours mimicking their favorite NFL players.

"We didn't have an opportunity to do something like this," Barr said. "If I were a kid, I would have had a great time today.

"I had a good time, and I'm only kind of a kid," Barr added with a laugh. "I'm not 6 years old running around but I had a great time and I think they did as well."

The free camp was split into two sessions, with one group of 300 kids going in the morning and the other group attending in the early afternoon.

Participants between the ages of 7 and 13 went through running, passing and catching drills as Barr sometimes jumped in to play some defense.

The camp ended with a sprint session as kids tried to prove who was the fastest in the  40-yard dash.

"My favorite drill was catching the ball," said 8-year-old Jacob Lutz. "You could go far or short and you look back and catch it."

Jacob's mother, Jill, said she had a blast watching her son run around and share the field with a professional player.

"We're just big Vikings fans," Jill Lutz said. "Any chance we can get to come out here and experience something with them, we do it.

"It was a wonderful experience for the kids," she added.

This was the second year in a row for Barr to team up with Hyundai to host the camp. Hyundai is hosting seven camps affiliated with NFL teams across the country and also donated $250,000 to the Mayo Clinic for pediatric cancer research.

The linebacker has also gotten involved in the community through his Raise the Barr foundation.

"Now that Minnesota is my home, building a relationship with the community is the most important thing to me," Barr said. "I thank them for welcoming me with open arms back in 2014, and they've been good to me and my family.

"I want to show my appreciation," Barr said.

Local coaches from around the Twin Cities pitched in and helped run drills and instruct teams around the field.

Tony Godbolt will work with the junior varsity team at Hopkins High School this fall and said he jumped at chance to get into swing of things before the season starts.

"My coaches were the biggest influence to me," Godbolt said. "My parents were busy with work, so I spent a lot of time in sports. It's kind of my turn to give back to the kids.

"Seeing their faces light up when they catch the ball and run it into the end zone, there's nothing better than that," Godbolt added.

Godbolt also praised Barr for giving back so close to when the linebacker is scheduled to report to training camp next week.

"For him to take his time and come out here to give back to the community, the kids will never forget that," Godbolt said.

Barr and other Vikings veterans are slated to arrive in Mankato on July 26 for training camp.

The former first-round pick made his second straight Pro Bowl in 2016 after recording 91 total tackles (according to coaches' tally) with four tackles for loss, 2.0 sacks, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery.

"I'm very excited," Barr said. "I'm not too sure many people would say that because it's camp, but it's a big year for myself.

"It's a big year for the team and the whole organization, so training camp will be a very pivotal aspect for our growth and maturity as a team," Barr added. "I'm looking forward to doing it with my guys."

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