BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Ron Leary didn’t start his football career until his junior year of high school.
“When I came in, I was, I was a mess,” said Leary.
...and he never looked back.
“You know, I didn’t know about shoulder pads, knee pads, all this kind of thing. I didn’t know where everything went, so to look where I started from to see where I’m at now, you know is definitely a blessing and it just shows that hard work and dedication and being resilient to anything - you know, it all pays off. That’s the kind of traits I want to teach the kids,” he explained.
Leary is back in his hometown for the 3rd annual Ron Leary Elite Football Camp, where he instilled football and life skills in young players. They received his jersey and other memorabilia from Southern Lab’s coaches and even watched his niece take part in the fun.
“There’s just so much that you mean to this program," said Southern Lab Head Coach Darrell Asberry. "And we appreciate you. We’re going to continue to appreciate you. And your school, my school, the rest of our schools, we want to say thank you.”
Though he grew up attending school next door to Southern’s campus, he went out of state for college and played four years for the Memphis Tigers.
“It worked out. But that’s not a knock to state schools, anything like that because you see guys, they go to the league, be successful for any school they go to. So, you know, whatever path you choose, I just say give it 100 percent effort,” Leary added.
After college, he played for the Dallas Cowboys for six seasons then headed north to Denver, where he is now.
“I mean, if you know anything about the NFL, if you have injuries, as soon as you have a major injury, they kind of count you out. So, but I’ve had a couple but, like I said, I’m going into my eighth year in the league, so I’ve overcome everything. So, that’s definitely a blessing,” Leary stated.
And, if Leary could give any advice to the kids...or to himself at a younger age...
“We got this saying in the league called ‘ignore the noise.’ You know, that’s like basically ignoring all the doubters, all the naysayers, you know. Because, when you’re trying to get to this level that I’m at, it’s going to be a lot of people that tell you you can’t make it. It’s going to be a lot of people that tell you no throughout the journey, but you just got to prove them wrong," Leary concluded.