Chicago Bears OL Robert Garza hosts free youth football camps
For nine-year NFL veteran Robert Garza there is no better feeling than being home where his football dreams started.
And for the third consecutive year he is showing young students in the Rio Grande Valley how the pros do it.
Garza, a Rio Hondo native, held the first of two football camps for Los Amigos de Roberto for kids ages 7-14 Tuesday morning at Sams Stadium in Brownsville.
"It's always great to have the opportunity to give back and help the community," Garza said. "It's really fun to some of the same kids the last couple of years and see how they've got better. There are also a lot of new kids and everyone is having a good time and that's the important thing."
"I get a chance to hang out with them and they ask me all kinds of questions," Garza said. "Like who is the toughest player I've guarded or the best and worst games I've been in. It's really important for me to give back because I tell them I ate the same food as them, grew up in the same town as they did, so it can happen."
For Garza the message he has for the youth in the Valley is that hard work pays off and if you want something bad enough you can make it happen.
"I worked extremely hard and continue to do so I can keep doing what I love. I wouldn't change it I love what I do. It's an honor for me to be around these kids. All they have to do is believe in themselves, dream big and they can accomplish anything."
The veteran lineman signed a six-year contract extension in 2006 with the Chicago Bears. In 2007 he also played in the Super Bowl where the Bears lost to the Indianapolis Colts 29-17 at Landshark Stadium in Miami.
Oso good: Garza ready to give back to Rio Hondo Wednesday
RIO HONDO - In nine years as a professional football player, Roberto Garza's learned a thing or two about the game, life and himself. As a rookie in 2000 with the Atlanta Falcons, Garza was a strong 22-year old kid trying to keep up with the big boys.
Making the team, learning the playbook and staying in step with the veterans was his priority.
To an extent it still is. But Garza's quickly learned that as the years pass, so does the body's ability to perform like a 22-year-old.
"Everything hurts a little bit more," Garza said. "It's a little harder to recover so that's become a challenge."
Garza takes his workouts more seriously nowadays. Not that he didn't in the past, but at 30-years old Garza's way of thinking has changed. Despite being a veteran, Garza understands that there are younger players coming up every season ready to take the veteran's job. So Garza hits the weight room with a purpose.
"I've worked hard for my job and I'm going to continue working hard," he said. "I'm not just gonna hand it over. I make money off my body and I have to take care of it. "I've worked hard to get where I'm at and I love what I do."