Dre Kirkpatrick enjoys giving back.
Whether it’s in the form of a youth football camp or donating money to his former high school football team at Gadsden City, Kirkpatrick keeps his hometown close. But there’s another city he’s grown close to — Cincinnati.
The former Gadsden City and Alabama standout held a celebrity basketball game May 18 and held a football/cheerleading camp the next morning at Princeton High School in Cincinnati for the Dre Kirkpatrick 21 Kids Foundation.
“I always want to give back,” Kirkpatrick, who will enter his 7th year in the NFL with the Cincinnati Bengals next season, said. “I feel like I’m a part of Cincinnati. I always want to feel like I’m doing things in the community that I need to be doing. Those are great steps towards it.”
It was the second camp Kirkpatrick has done in Cincinnati and he also did a bicycle giveaway with Bengals’ receiver A.J. Green at Christmas time last year at St. Bernard Elementary School.
Kirkpatrick typically does a camp each year with the location varying between Gadsden and Cincinnati. But the other things, like the bike giveaway or the celebrity basketball game, are more spur-of-the-moment ideas.
“I don’t like to put ‘annual’ behind anything because I don’t really know,” Kirkpatrick said. “I know I’m going to have a camp, but all these other things are just ideas that are just how I’m feeling at the time.”
Sacramento Kings forward Zach Randolph was the host of the celebrity basketball game. Kirkpatrick said he flew in from California to attend. Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict and former Bengals cornerback Adam Jones played in the basketball game. It means a lot to Kirkpatrick to have those guys show up for him at his events.
“It goes a long way to show what my character means to them,” Kirkpatrick said. “They have all these things they could be doing with their lives. It’s hard, but it just shows the integrity of who you are as a person and the respect these guys have for you. It gives you a good feeling.”
At the camp, there was a lot of rain. But it didn’t stop children from attending and having a good time. That’s something else that meant a lot to Kirkpatrick.
“Those kids didn’t care (about the weather),” he said. “Their drive of learning, getting better and being around athletes; that’s what it’s all about.”
Kirkpatrick added that he will be hosting a back-to-school event in July. He isn’t sure if it’ll be in Gadsden or Cincinnati, as well as any other specifics, as of now.
“People can be on the lookout for that,” Kirkpatrick said. “I just thought about it a couple of days ago. We don’t know if we are going to do it in (Gadsden) or Cincinnati. Maybe both.”
By: Teddy Couch, Times Staff Writer
Posted: May 26, 2018, 6:57 pm