It might have been Ravens training camp, but this was a Baltimore Colt doing the coaching yesterday. His team: 16 youths caught up in the state Department of Juvenile Services.
Better known for his star turn as a halfback in the 1950s and 1960s, Lenny Moore has spent the past two dozen years helping troubled teenagers. Moore, 74, works for the community and family partnerships division of Juvenile Services, where his NFL connections help him arrange trips to training camp, exhibition games and other Ravens events.
The kids who came to Westminster yesterday were selected for their good behavior inside two Juvenile Services facilities, Cheltenham Youth Facility and Victor Cullen Center.
He'll escort two more juvenile groups to training camp next month.
The Pro Football Hall of Fame member has quietly been doing things like this since 1984, when he first took a position with juvenile justice.
When his latest supervisor, Stacey Gurian-Sherman, joined the department, she said she could not believe "the Lenny Moore" would be part of her team. She said she has been bowled over by his generosity and commitment.
"He is a Hall of Famer in ways that most people don't know about," she said. "He was a star player for the Colts, and he is a star player for this agency. He loves these kids in a way that he is able to communicate to them."
When the boys arrived yesterday, Moore, wearing a straw hat and a towel around his neck, sat them down for a pep talk.
He told them about his life as a football player - that he made thousands of dollars, not millions, that he worked at another job in the off-season, that there were no media stars in the vein of Ray Lewis, the player the kids were dying to meet.
He told them they needed to take responsibility for their own behavior and realize they could set the course of their lives however they wanted.
"Many of these kids don't understand there is opportunity for them," he said.
He read them a thank-you letter that a boy at a substance abuse treatment center had sent to Moore after he had spoken there.
"You gave me a lot of motivation from that speech you gave us," it read. "A lot of people always blow me off if I ask for something. And you actually made me feel a lot better."
Yesterday's field trip, said Gurian-Sherman, was part of the "carrot and stick" approach that juvenile services workers - like many parents - take with kids.
"We want to give them experiences that we know all teenagers enjoy," she said. "When you show youth that you're committed to them in a positive and fun way, you get back positive energy."
Most of the juveniles attending training camp didn't know their destination until they pulled into the McDaniel College parking lot.
"We tried to keep it a secret," said Sharon Brooks, a Cheltenham employee. "But when we rolled up here - they were excited."
They called out the names of players - kicker Matt Stover, punter Sam Koch - who practiced near them. They rushed to the sidelines when Willis McGahee pulled up in a golf cart to sign autographs.
Old Colt is still a good team player
Lenny Moore helps troubled teens
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