NFL Player, Former Tiger Inspires Teens at Youth Villages

NFL Player, Former Tiger Inspires Teens at Youth Villages

An NFL star had powerful words for the kids at Youth Villages: Don't let your circumstances define your future. Clinton McDonald, who played football at the University of Memphis, spent time at the youth center in Bartlett on Monday.
BARTLETT, TN (localmemphis.com) - An NFL star had powerful words for the kids at Youth Villages: Don't let your circumstances define your future. Clinton McDonald, who played football at the University of Memphis, spent time at the youth center in Bartlett on Monday.

"I was excited to see an NFL player. I was like, wow!" exclaimed 16-year-old Cortez, who has been a resident of Youth Villages for the last four months.

15-year-old Joseph has also been there awhile. He is at the facility for doing things he's not too proud of.

"It gets rough being locked up. I've been in and out all my life," he said, for "acting out, breaking and entering, being disrespectful to my mom, stuff like that."

The Seattle Seahawks defensive tackle and former Memphis Tiger knows young men like Joseph and Cortez.

"You look at communities kids come up in, it's not that different than where I came from. If I didn't have a father or mother in my life and role models, who's to say I wouldn't be in a position like this?"

McDonald says he made it because he had people to look to for guidance and encouragement. So now it's his duty to encourage.

"God blessed me to be what I am today. It's a gift to give back. It's very important for people who have that light and influence to give back and come to places like this. It's one thing for having it, and another with sharing it."

Dozens of young men hung on his every word, and his message seemed to get across.

"I'm going to do good, go home next week. Just do what I got to do to stay out of places like this."

"I'm trying to fulfill my dreams so I can be one of the ones talking to people."

All the kids McDonald spoke with were extremely thankful the NFL player took time out of his busy schedule to come speak with them.

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