116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
Ward renews Cedar Rapids commitment
Jul. 23, 2011 9:07 pm
Dedric Ward admitted last week he's slowing down a bit.
But just a bit.
A former all-state wide receiver at Cedar Rapids Washington and All-American at Northern Iowa who spent eight years in the NFL, Ward returns to Cedar Rapids next month for his 11th youth football game.
He ran a free one-day camp for 10 years but stopped a couple of years ago when he started coaching.
“It was just kind of hard to get back,” Ward, 36, said last week from his home in Las Vegas.
He was hoping some other former Metro prep turned NFL player would take it over. That didn't happen, so Ward is giving back to his hometown again, hosting a camp at his high school alma mater Aug. 4-5. This year's camp does carry a $20 fee but “no one will be turned away,” a news release notes.
Ward is happy to be back giving back.
“It does feel good,” he said.
Ward last worked in football about a year ago, helping fill a gap on the staff at UNI during summer workouts. He went back to Las Vegas and is taking his time deciding his next professional move. He'd like to coach again but repeated several times that “it would have to be the right situation.”
He worked in the NFL for the Arizona Cardinals and Kansas City Chiefs but was let go by the Chiefs when he and now head coach Todd Haley had different philosophies about coaching wide receivers.
“We kind of butted heads a bit,” he said. “... I decided I can do something else with my life.”
He coached at Missouri State before helping Mark Farley at UNI.
“I'm not scared of work, working hard, working long hours,” he said. “But coaching is very time consuming. College football was a lot more enjoyable, a lot less politics, but you have to do a lot more baby-sitting.”
Ward has found something else to do - and it actually includes a little baby sitting. His son, Mason, is 8 years old. “I want to be around for him,” he said.
Ward even took over Mason's flag football team last year, getting the “job” when he showed up for the first practice. The head coach had to pull out at the last minute, so other parents asked Ward if he knew anything about football.
“I told them I know a little bit,” he said, adding a parent later searched his name and found out Ward played in the NFL and owned a Super Bowl ring from his time in New England.
“I had fun with the kids,” he said.
Looks like he's not done having fun with the kids.