Former Havelock standout and current Tampa Bay linebacker Bruce Carter holds youth football camp in Havelock

If there was one message Bruce Carter wanted to deliver to the kids at his free football camp, it was to “stay active.”

Carter, a former Havelock standout, put on his first camp for the youth Saturday morning at Havelock High School. More than 100 kids showed up to meet and learn from the NFL player.

“It’s great to get the kids out here and have them be active,” Carter said. “These kids aren’t sitting in the house. They are out here moving around and trying to have fun.

“The turnout was great. We were just trying to work on the basic fundamentals, going through football drills.”

Carter, a member of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, made the decision to do a camp last season when he was instructing at New Bern native Kevin Reddick’s camp.

The instructors at Carter’s camp taught the fundamentals of the game, gave away T-shirts and fed the kids.

“When I was growing up, I never had anyone come back and put on a football camp,” Carter said. “I think it’s great for them to know someone from their hometown made it to the NFL.

“Just getting a chance to come out here and play around with the kids, I think everyone is having a good time.”

Twelve stations were set up where the campers did drills that included catching, blocking, running and others.

“Bruce has always been a big Havelock supporter,” said Havelock football coach Jim Bob Bryant. “He put on a free camp and the kids are getting fed for free. It’s a real good thing that he’s doing in conjunction with the NFL.

“It’s big to have him come back and give to the community. There are kids from Jacksonville and New Bern and from all over.”

Carter hopes to continue his camp in the future, and make it bigger and better. Or, he may collaborate with Reddick on some sort of event.

“I went to Kevin’s camp last year and I thought he had a pretty good turnout, so I decided to do one,” Carter said. “I think next season we are going to try and combine something, like a kickball tournament or something like that.

“We are just thinking of ideas of how we can get the community involved and get the kids involved.”

Carter, a 6-foot-2, 240-pound linebacker, is approaching his fifth season in the NFL. He played for the Dallas Cowboys the past four seasons before signing with the Buccaneers in April.

Carter has 242 tackles, three sacks and five interceptions during his NFL career.

He starts training camp on Aug. 1.

Adam Thompson is the sports editor at the Sun Journal.