Former Green Bay Packers Antonio Freeman, Ahman Green helps kids stay fit at NFL Play 60 Youth Football Festival
Saturday, September 10, 2011
Green Bay Press Gazette

Footballs were flying Tuesday near Lambeau Field in Green Bay as students participated in the NFL Play 60 Youth Football festivities.

"I like playing tackle football," said Adam Cecchi, a fifth-grader at Holy Family Catholic School, who caught passes from his classmates and darted between markers and over short barricades during the event held inside the Resch Center.

Holy Family students were among 500 students from Northeastern Wisconsin to participate in the event, which continues today and Thursday.


It is one of many events leading up to Thursday's season opener between the Green Bay Packers and New Orleans Saints at Lambeau Field.

Students spent two hours doing drills and playing flag football on the artificial turf covering the Resch Center floor, working with coaches and former Packers players Antonio Freeman and Ahman Green.

The idea is to get students interested in exercise and to understand the importance of moving around for at least 60 minutes a day.

Participating schools have been active in the NFL Play 60 program for a while, but it was the Packers' Super Bowl XLV win that brought the full event to town this week.

"It's great to be in Green Bay," said Peter O'Reilly, NFL vice president of marketing. "We typically hold these things outdoors, but we wanted to be in the footprint of Lambeau Field — and when we saw this space, we knew we could lay out a field in here.

"It's a pleasure to work in this market."

NFL Play 60 is a good fit for schools and the league, he said.

"We think it's very authentic to who we are as an organization," O'Reilly said. "Going into schools and talking about healthy lifestyles, which is something our guys live every day, they're training, they're working out, we knew we could make a difference."

Green spent time encouraging students to run, jump and pass. He said he looked forward to being part of the event.

"It's about getting kids active," Green said. "I do it with my own kids.

"Kids spend too much time at video games, Twitter, all that stuff. We want to encourage them to get outside and have fun."

Holy Cross fifth-grader Will Sullivan needed no encouragement.

"This is really fun," he said. "You want to work out to be healthy. You've got to keep moving."

Classmate Isabel Kellner said she enjoyed practicing drills as a quarterback, running back and receiver.

"I think it's very important you can do different things with your body," she said.

Kellner also is ready for Thursday's big kickoff.

"I think it's going to be a very fun game," the Packers fan said. "I really want them to win."

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