HAVELOCK | More than 100 kids ran around the fields, smiling and laughing, at Havelock’s Recreation Field Saturday morning.

They learned the fundamentals of football, received instructions and interacted with professional football players that they would typically watch on television.

Bruce Carter, a Havelock native, was once one of those kids eager to absorb lessons that would help develop him into where he is now.

Approaching his sixth season in the NFL, he returned to his hometown to conduct his second “Bruce Carter Football Camp,” a free camp for the youth.

“You have to embrace it,” Carter said. “I was a kid once so I know it’s always great to have somebody you can look up to and someone you can come back to and see that they made it, especially from where we are from.

“It goes to show that I am an example that if I can do it anybody can.”

Carter, a linebacker for the New York Jets, attended high school at Havelock High before playing four years at North Carolina and getting selected in the second round of the 2011 NFL Draft by the Dallas Cowboys.

Last summer, he started this camp in Havelock.

This time around, he had Havelock coaches and former players help instruct the camp, and was assisted by New Bern native Kevin Reddick who plays for the Buffalo Bills.

“It’s big to be able to come back and help the community,” Reddick said. “The kids love this and that’s what this is about, coming back and giving to them and seeing the smiles on their faces.”

Drills were designed for the kids with instructors at each station. During breaks, Carter signed autographs, mostly on the “Carter 54” t-shirt distributed to each participant.

“Just to see the smiles on the kids’ faces, that’s what really brings the joy to me regardless of whether they are doing a drill right or wrong. I’m just trying to send a positive message,” Carter said.

Carter learned to play football at a young age and used his expertise to teach those early beginners.

The camp was run through the web site USAFootball.com/fun.

According to its web site, USA Football FUNdamentals introduces children to football by teaching basic skills in a fun and energetic environment. Certified clinicians use a series of drills to show passing, catching and running skills in a non-contact setting.

“We are just learning the basic fundamentals of football – learning techniques, starts, where your hands and eyes should be, just to be disciplined,” Carter said. “Once you propose that to them at a young age then it will help them through middle school and high school and even further.”

Carter used his work ethic and desire to become a veteran in the NFL.

His message for those listening was to not let others tell you what you can’t do.

“Always be motivated, don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do something,” Carter said. “God gave you a purpose before anyone had an opinion about what you are going to do.

“You have to stay motivated, be inspired and always motivate others.”

Adam Thompson is the sports editor at the Sun Journal. He can be contacted at 252-635-5669. Follow Adam on Twitter @A_ThompsonNBSJ