BOSTON (CBS) — As he heads into his second year in the NFL, New England Patriots defensive lineman Dominique Easley is one busy man.
Easley has been working hard to return to the field after knee soreness ended his rookie campaign last December. But he’s also hard at work off the field, preparing to host his first football camp, Champs Camp, on Sunday, July 25 in Medford. Easley and teammates Chandler Jones, Jerod Mayo and Aaron Dobson will hold the camp for kids ages 6-17, with one goal.
“Have fun, and don’t ever let the game itself take you out of having fun playing football,” Easley told WBZ-TV’s Dan Roche in an interview from Sunday night’s Sports Final. “That’s the problem now; a lot of people take it too serious. When you have fun, you play great.”
For Easley, football camp will be a new experience — and not just hosting it.
“This is my first camp, ever really. Growing up I never went to a camp. I just want them to experience something I never got to experience,” he said. “Just go out there, show them how to do some drill, bust most importantly, have some fun.”
Easley said some may find it odd that he never attended a football camp growing up, but it’s not uncommon for someone who grew up in Staten Island, New York.
“Football isn’t, so-called, known [in New York],” he said with a smile, adding that he played basketball for most of his youth before joining the football team in high school. “It was my brother who made me play. He played all through when we were younger, but I was too big so I never got to play.”
Easley said football came quick for him when he started playing organized ball, and it just took off from there. But since he had such a late start, Easley said he is always trying to learn more.
“You can always learn,” he said. “At no point in your career, don’t think you know [everything].”
But his upcoming camp isn’t his only endeavor this offseason. Easley has also created a website to raise awareness of Fibromyalgia, Easleysawareness.com. His younger sister, Destinee, was diagnosed at the age of 11 with the disorder, which causes severe pain that affects people physically, mentally and socially.
“Some days she would wake up and not be able to walk. Just seeing my sister not being able to walk as an 11-year-old is really harsh on you. You can’t do anything,” said Easley.
Now 16, Destinee continues her battle, and her older brother wants to raise awareness in hopes of finding a cure. Dominique said pain pills worked with limited success, and a more natural medical approach worked a little better. But she was back in a wheelchair just two weeks ago, and now is seeking acupuncture treatment in hopes of alleviating her pain.
“A lot of people don’t know how serious it is until you actually witness it for yourself,” said Easley. “I just want to let people know how serious it is and try to raise awareness to find a cure.
“That’s my goal, to get my sister and other women out of this pain they can’t control,” he said. “The website actually shows you what Fibromyalgia is, gives you a little detail about my sister’s life, and it shows you the pain that she went through,” he continued. “People need to read about it and learn more about it, which I am still, just to find ways to help.”
Easley On Raising Awareness Of Fibromyalgia:
As for his preparations for the 2015 football season, Easily said he is confident he’ll have a healthier campaign this year. He can’t wait to receive his football ring, an honor he understands some players go their entire career without experience.
He praised the tutoring he received from Vince Wilfork and Chandler Jones throughout his rookie campaign, and he was grateful to come into the NFL and play for a coach like Bill Belichick.
“He’s a Hall of Fame coach, and [playing under him] is not something everyone gets to experience. I’m grateful for it,” he said. “He does everything different, and in my eyes, at risk. He does things you would never normally see someone do… That’s what makes him great.
“And he’s a jokester, which not a lot of people see,” he added of his head coach.
Easley On Rookie Season, Patriots Defensive Line:
Known as a player with a great motor, Easley hopes he has a chance to use it for the full year in 2015. But it all goes back to the message he’ll relay onto his camp participants later next month.
“You have to have fun; if you have fun you don’t ever think twice about going 110 percent,” he said.
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