Just a few years after he was drafted into the NFL in 2013 by the New England Patriots, former Rutgers cornerback Logan Ryan started a youth football summer camp called “Thursday Night Lights.”
On his old football field at Eastern Regional High School in Voorhees Township, New Jersey, Ryan and his former high school and college coaches helped teach kids ages 8 to 18 the fundamentals of football with drills, exercises and educational lessons that Ryan himself learned as a young football player. The free camp, held on June 29, was the first hosted since the pandemic.
“What separated my camp is that every coach who coached here coached me,” Ryan said. “Cause I wanted to inspire the kids that you'll get the same exact coaching that I did.”
One of Ryan’s high school coaches in attendance was Dan Spittal, the Scarlet Knights' current player personnel analyst. Ryan praised Spittal for mentoring him in high school and assisting in getting him to where he is now.
“I’m just so happy that the people that inspired me are still doing it. So many coaches that coached me are still coaching, which means they're just good human beings. They love giving back,” Ryan said.
Ryan, who has played for 10 seasons in the NFL, is a two-time Super Bowl champion with the Patriots and is one of the most successful Rutgers graduates in his respective sport. To share his success with the 150 participants at the camp, Ryan brought his Super Bowl 51 trophy to the field so each camper could take a picture with it.
Ryan expressed that seeing the kids with big smiles on their faces was what the whole camp was all about.
“It's bigger than me. I’m trying to inspire the next one,” Ryan said. "I understand my time on this planet is limited, and my NFL career is gonna come to an end one day. I want to get the next kid from Eastern, from South Jersey, from wherever they're from to feel like they could make it.”
Ryan is also big on community service and believes that gratitude is very important.
“I think money and success reveal a lot of people's true qualities,” he said. “I have the platform and some of the success to say, 'Man, I wanna help others that are less fortunate or don't have that yet.' So, I just try to show people the way.”
Ryan is currently a free agent in the NFL after spending a few years with the Patriots, the New York Giants and the Tennessee Titans. Last season, he played for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He credits hard work and discipline with helping him get to where he is today.
“I had the right people around me to elevate me as high as I needed to be,” Ryan said. “And the only excuse I could have is not working hard enough. So I put the work in. I had good mentors, I had good leadership.”
Outside of football, Ryan runs a non-profit animal shelter with his wife, Ashley. The Ryan Animal Rescue Foundation (RARF) “partners with animal welfare organizations nationwide promoting adoption and providing financial and educational opportunities to better the lives of animals,” according to its official website.
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