July 14 - Lions' Pollard A True Role Model
Detroit Lions tight end Marcus Pollard is truly one of the good guys. Recently
instead of spending his precious off days on some Caribbean island relaxing in
the time before training camp begins, he spent those hot July mornings and
afternoons dodging Hurricane Dennis while working for the betterment of the
youth in his hometown of Lanett, Ala.
On July 9, in the waning moments before the hurricane made its presence felt
over the area, Pollard was throwing footballs, playing games and cooking out for
youth in his old neighborhood, the West Shawmut Community of Lanett. This
annual event is known as Marcus Pollard NFL Day and the smiles on the faces
tell the story of this terrific event.
A few days later, Pollard makes a stop by the Learning to Excel Day Care Center in Lanett to give some
of the aspiring football players some pointers. Not only does he teach them about football, but about the
dangers of drugs and the importance of staying in school and not causing trouble.
“It is important to work hard in school,” he said. “Just because you may not have much now does not
mean you can’t have a lot in life.”
Pollard gave the students a little peek into the world of a professional football player. His days begin at 6
a.m. for weight training followed by meetings from 8 a.m. until noon. He gets 45 minutes for lunch before
coming back and meeting until 2 p.m. At 2 p.m. practice begins and goes until 5 p.m. after which he
spends the rest of his evenings watching film.
Last year in addition to running his special community day in West Shawmut, Pollard appeared on
behalf of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Chambers County’s “Help a Child” event. He donated $2,500 to the
club and really paved the way for the fundraiser where he was the keynote speaker. Pollard and his wife
Amani have a foundation in Indianapolis called the TRUST 81 fund to held under privileged children
obtain higher education.
Pollard, who went to Valley High School, was even honored by Lanett City Schools Superintendent
Charles Looser for the work he has done in the community. Lanett and Valley are bitter rivals. Looser
joked at the time that this was probably the first time a Valley football player had been honored by Lanett.
Pollard is the son of Charles and Geraldine Pollard. While growing up in the local area, he attended Bob
Harding-Shawmut Elementary School, W.F. Burns Middle School before starring in football and
basketball at Valley High School. After graduating VHS in 1990, he signed a basketball scholarship with
Seward County Community College in Liberal, Kansas. As a sophomore, he averaged 15 points and
9.6 rebounds per game. His outstanding play earned him a scholarship to Bradley University in Peoria,
Ill. He started two years as a power forward for Bradley, averaging 7.3 points and five rebounds per
game. In 1994, he earned a degree in criminal justice.
In Jan. 1995, Pollard signed a free-agent contract to play football with the Indianapolis Colts. It was a
long-shot attempt for him to make it in the NFL since he had not played football in college. He made the
team, though, first as a practice squad player. On Oct. 14, 1995, he was activated and played in his first
pro game for the Colts against San Francisco. In his 10-year career, Pollard has caught 263 passes for
3,391 yards and 35 touchdowns. He has never lost a fumble.
He has moved on to Detroit where he will team with a star-studded cast to give the Lions one of the top
offensive units in football. Along with Pollard, quarterback Joey Harrington, running back Kevin Jones
and wide receivers Mike Williams, Roy Williams and Charles Rogers should be virtually impossible to
stop. Pollard said that he’s real excited about the move to Detroit and everything was “going great.” His
wife is from the area, so that made the adjustment much easier.
Detroit has definitely got a keeper in Pollard.