The Buzz: One On One With Drayton Florence

The Buffalo Bills cornerback was in town for his sixth annual “Make It Happen” Youth Football Camp, and before he headed out to Booster Stadium, Drayton talked to Ocala Style about coming home and giving back.

This is the second stop for you today. You were just at Chick-fil-A, one of your camp’s sponsors.
Yes, just left there. I got the Hero of the Month award, signed some autographs, did some French fries.

They put you to work!
Yeah! Put a few orders out. I told the guy that I applied there back in high school but they didn’t hire me. He told me if I wanted to come work in the off-season, I had a job.

Drayton, Jaelynn, Langston & Tiffany Florence

That’s job security right there. Now this is the sixth year for your “Make It Happen” Youth Football Camp. What do you enjoy most about the event?
Coming back and seeing the kids I saw the year before and them telling me how much they enjoy the camp and look forward to it every year. They tell me how they’re doing in school and [how] they’re progressing. It feels good to come back and see those kids staying on the right track and not getting in trouble.

Some kids are out there every year?
Yeah, and the camp’s getting bigger every year. There are 350 kids this year. The first two years, it was kind of hard getting it off the ground, but now it runs itself basically because of the community support. A lot of sponsors are doing their part, stepping up and making sure the kids are well taken care of.

Are you impressed with the kids’ talent?
Definitely. I go to a lot of camps all over and just how advanced these kids are nowadays athletically, it’s a lot more than we were. They’ve got sports year-round. They’ve got centers where they can go and get training. To see these guys so advanced, a lot bigger and a lot stronger than when we were, it’s pretty neat.

Your family’s here with you today. Is it hard to balance family life with an NFL career?
It’s not hard. It’s just that I’m away from them seven months out of the year. My wife and kids are in Jacksonville and I’m up north. I see them every weekend, though. Traveling back and forth is kind of hard, but we’ve been doing it so long, I’m used to it.

What’s the most important lesson you hope the kids take from your camp?
Just knowing that whenever you set your mind to do something, do it—no matter what circumstances you may come from, no matter what kind of issues you may be battling. Everybody should have that drive to want to do something with their talent. Some people are a little more blessed than others financially and some people get more opportunities, but everybody can work hard.

You grew up here. So when you come back now, what’s the one place you have to stop by and visit?
Rondo over at Mojo Grill, that’s my guy. Every time I come to town, I let him know I’m coming and to make those famous meatballs for me. Even though he’s a Dolphins fan, he’s still my guy.

For Florence Fans

Posted in Ocala Style Features

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