Martin Bayless 25 Years Building Hope

Martin Bayless“The kids keep coming, Martin Bayless said about his nationally known football camp. ” I told my mom that if I ever made the NFL I would come back and help the kids. I kept my word. I have been doing this in Ohio for 27 years and San Diego for 25.” The former Kansas City Chief  has both played and coached in the NFL for 26 yrs.  Bayless was drafted in the fourth round by the St. Louis Cardinals and Martin Blackstatistically wasn’t supposed to make it in the NFL, but with determination and strong will he was able to overcome those odds.After 14 successful years as a player, he turned to coaching, and since then he has been all over the world. From being a special teams coach for the Barcelona Dragons to his time as a Defensive Assistant for the Carolina Panthers’ Super Bowl season, one might say Bayless knows a thing or two about the game of football.  Martin Bayless Camp 25 Years Building Hope

If you ask Mr. Bayless what his greatest accomplishment was, he would tell you it was starting a football camp which bears his name. The Martin Bayless Foundation Football Camp is a free camp in both San Diego and his hometown of Dayton, Ohio. Bayless started the camp because he wanted to help kids improve their football skills, get pointers from actual NFL vets, and understand success does not come easy. The pro coaches also enforce this hard work ethic and hope mentality. “All the players that come out believe in mentorship.Martin Bayless

That is why current and former players Robert Griffith (Vikings), Andre Reed (Bills), Vencie Glenn (Chargers), Akili Smith (Bengals),Demarco Sampson (49ers), Lonny Mitchell (Vikings/SDSU), Rashard Cook (Eagles),Anthony Mitchell (Chargers), Ty Gibson, Kai Brown and the rest come.The kids see it. They see these guys seperated themselves from the rest and made it,” said Bayless. In addition to the star studded staff, the list of alumni from The Martin Bayless Camp is jaw dropping. Over the years phenomenal players have participated as children  including; Lions RB Reggie Bush, ex-Dolphin’s RB Ricky Williams, Green Bay’s Jarel Worthy, Chief’s QB Alex Smith and Philadelphia’s WR Desean Jackson. One attendee and camp co host, former St. Louis Ram, La’Roi Glover participated in the camp in high school as well.

Donny Edwards former Kansas City Chief was a very memorable camp attendee according to Bayless. “Donny was a kid that came into camp and asked a ton of questions. He wasn’t the most talented but he wanted to learn the game. It was crazy that he came to my camp, went to college  and then one day he walked in to the Chiefs locker room where I was playing too.” “The word and essence of the camp is hope. Hope… that the rest of these pro coaches and I came exactly where they came from. Hope… that Alex Smith, Reggie Bush, Torrey Holt… many of these pros came to my camps and were exactly like the kids here. It’s about who will work hard in school and in off season. We tell the kids that work ethic will separate them.” “I have had opportunity to play, coach and  now I have spent three seasons working with the NFLPA. It has been great and I am staying busy.” Despite staying busy, the word “Giveback” on the back of the camp shirts encompass Martin’s mission. “Giveback is written in large letters on our shirts because  if you play football or not; we can help people in our community.”

It is undoubtedly clear that this 14 year NFL veteran will  continue to make time using his platform to impact youth for many years to come. Formore on his camp and the NFL stars that are Bayless alumni, visit .

Our beliefs, thoughts, and attitudes have a huge impact on our performance.”

For more Follow Theresa Villano, @theresa_ppi  and @playerinsiders

Photos By: Ginger Nelson

Trish Scott Contributed to this story

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