PITTSBURGH — As a child, Darrelle Revis attended several camps improving his craft as a football player, while also properly applying life skills for the future, both of which have served the former Pitt standout well.
This is a combination which totaled an 11-year hall of fame-worthy NFL career and the creation of the Darrelle Revis Foundation, which Saturday hosted its second-annual Hunger & Health Fun Fest at UPMC Rooney Sports Complex.
“I’ve been through a lot of camps and I’ve experienced so much that I am grateful for,” Revis said to reporters prior to Saturday’s event. “You always hear things like ‘you can’t leave a kid behind’ or ‘you never know what child is listening’ when you are showcasing these events. You can’t say you’re going to reach everybody but at the same time, if you’re doing your part, that’s enough and surely your message will be heard. As a kid, camps inspired me to be better and not only to improve my game, but some of the life lessons and stories you hear from other athletes across the country.”
Before Revis was the NFL player who had a so-called island named after him, he was born in Aliquippa, coming from a single-parent home and growing up in an urban community.
This helped serve as his mission for the foundation which aims to tackle childhood hunger by assisting families with tools to live a healthy lifestyle.
Revis admitted that the foundation had some hardships in the beginning considering he was still playing in the NFL and had to juggle both responsibilities.
Now more than a year removed from retirement, Revis finds it “amazing” that there now is plenty of time to fully dive into and provide a larger investment into the foundation, which he believes will only further what is trying to be accomplished.
The H2 program gave children in grades 1-through-8 six stations during the four-hour event which were boxing, fitness workshops, meal prep, 7-on-7 flag football, a youth empowerment and motivation session and a question and answer portion.
“You want the kids to know that they have a family,” said Revis. “The Darrelle Revis Foundation is something we take pride in and the only thing I can do is give credit to our staff for really caring about what we do.”
Among those assisting were several high school football coaches, Pittsburgh Steelers safety Dravon Askew-Henry, former NFL player Laveranues Coles, leadership coach Nick Jackson and Revis himself, who visited all of the stations.
This now annual event is made possible with the University of Pittsburgh serving as a key foundation supporter.
Several Pitt players assisted in the flag football station and also were joined by Associate Athletic Director, Football Administration Chris LaSala for the press conference.
It is clear how much Pitt’s support means to Revis and the cornerback has paid attention to how his alma mater has been doing, while recalling how being a scout-team running back against Clint Sessions and H.B. Blades marked the beginning of a successful career on the field.
“I keep up with these guys,” he said. “I played here and am proud to have played at the University of Pittsburgh. I keep up on all of the news. I see what Aaron Donald is doing and these guys in the back of the room work hard. We pride ourselves on being great student-athletes.”
Revis extends his foundation’s message back at home where he tries to limit time with video games in favor of more outside, physical activity.
As children tried their best Odell Beckham Jr catch impressions, ran through obstacles, threw punches or learned more about healthy living, Revis moved around the complex with a smile across his face.
“This is something I have a passion for, am aware and want to keep doing through my foundation,” said Revis.