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A day removed from Denver Broncos star quarterback Peyton Manning making an appearance at the 22nd annual Colonial All-Pro Football Camp at the College of William & Mary, two more NFL players took the field to impart wisdom to aspiring players.
Rob Gronkowski, a Super Bowl winner and three-time Pro Bowl tight end for the New England Patriots, interacted with campers during the morning session of Monday's camp. Luke Kuechly, a Carolina Panthers linebacker and two-time Pro Bowler, was on hand for the afternoon session.
Known for his playful antics on and off the field, Gronkowski — or "Gronk" as he is commonly referred — laughed and gave high fives to campers, stressing the fun aspects of football.
"You want to come out here and have fun. You want to be smiling and running around having a good time," Gronkowski said.
In between throwing passes to younger participants of the camp, Gronkowski fielded questions ranging from his favorite team growing up to what it is like catching passes from Tom Brady.
"When you field questions from kids, you get a range of questions for sure," Gronkowski said with a laugh. "It's great to see kids with smiles on their faces asking questions."
Campers at the All-Pro Football Camp were treated to more Pro Bowl talent in the afternoon session when Kuechly stopped by the camp to give instruction to players of all skill levels.
Kuechly shares a distinguished honor with a Williamsburg legend, Pro Football Hall of Famer Lawrence Taylor. In 2013, Kuechly joined Taylor as the only players in NFL history to win Defensive Rookie of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year in successive years.
Despite never attending football camps as a child, Kuechly remembers meeting professional basketball players while attending basketball camps, calling the experience the "best thing ever."
The roles were reversed Monday afternoon as Kuechly worked out with younger football players before going through more in-depth workouts and drills with high-school aged players.
As the only professional defensive player at this year's camp, Kuechly was tasked with teaching the finer details of playing defense.
"In football there's always going to be trash at your feet," Kuechly said. "Whether its linemen diving at your feet or guys on the ground, the important thing is to keep your legs up and to keep your eyes up."
Before his time at the All-Pro Football Camp was done, Kuechly even offered up compliments about Williamsburg and William & Mary.
"I think it's cool down here," he said. "I came here when I was really little with my family. I really do like the feel. It's just neat. There's trees, there's green areas, the buildings are neat. When you get a campus that's kind of all encompassed and it's got green space, trees and it's got great architecture, I think it's a cool deal."