On a 100-degree day in Mobile County, New York Jets linebacker CJ Mosley spent most of Thursday outside and couldn’t have been happier about it. For the first time since June 28, 2019, the CJ Mosley Football Skills Camp and the hundred or so youth who attended the free event returned to CA Douglas Field in Mosley’s hometown of Theodore.
“It was a great feeling to see everyone again,” Mosley said towards the end of the morning session. “Everyone is happy out here. The parents are happy. We’re glad to be out here, so it’s always a great time to be back at Theodore. …
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“Just got home. That’s the main thing. their old workplaces. You walk around the campus and see what new things have been built around them. It’s like a breath of fresh air. They come back and refuel. And get used to the heat again. But it was good.”
Mosley has suspended its annual camp in 2020 and 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Temperatures on Thursday also posed some obstacles. Registration and pre-camp remarks from Mosley, his parents and Theodore football coach Eric Collier took place in the Theodore High School gym, in the stands at Douglas Field, campers got longer water breaks and more Time in the shade for this year’s event and a fire truck came to shower the youngsters when the football was done.
Thursday’s camp had two sessions. In the morning, young people between the ages of 5 and 11 took part. The 12 to 18 year old campers were on the field in the afternoon.
“For me to come back to Theodore and host the camp,” Mosley said, “it’s not so much about having my name on it as it’s about being back where I grew up, with all my family and my friends along the way and then to see the new generation grow up. My son is attending the camp. Some of my friends from high school have kids at camp now, and it’s kind of cool to see the cycle of life continue.”
Mosley didn’t set up the camp alone. He said he received support from “Theodore High School coaching staff, the United Way (of Southwest Alabama), teachers who work at Theodore High School. My family works out here on registration and helps with coaching, and even some of the Navco Park coaches we knew from childhood came out and helped. It’s a different thing being out here: every time we come here and do this camp, it’s like a big family reunion and that’s what it’s all about.”
Mosley was a two-time All-State linebacker for Theodore High School. In 2009, he received the Class 6A Lineman of the Year Award and Parade All-American recognition.
At Alabama, Mosley was a consensus All-American in 2012 and a unanimous All-American in 2013 when he received the SEC Defensive Player of the Year Award and the Butkus Award for the nation’s top linebacker. Mosley played for two national championship teams with the Crimson Tide.
Mosley joined the NFL as the 17th player selected in the 2014 NFL Draft. He was selected to the Pro Bowl four times.
Injuries limited Mosley to two games in the 2019 season, and he sat out the 2020 season as part of the NFL’s plan to play during the coronavirus pandemic. But he came back in 2021 to make 168 tackles for the Jets. That’s the most tackles in an NFL season for an Alabama high school or college player.
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Mark Inabinett is a sports reporter for the Alabama Media Group. Follow him on Twitter at @AMarkG1.