More than 250 youngsters are at the Rhode Island Football Academy summer camp this week at the Community College of Rhode Island in Warwick, including the return of the of the camp's biggest success story -- Tom Wort.
The former Rhode Island Football Academy camper made his return to Rhode Island this week. Wort was a star at the University of Oklahoma and was signed by the Tennessee Titans as a free agent last year upon graduation. But his football career started right here in little old Rhody after he moved here from England when he was 13 years old.
"As soon as I got off the plane from England and within a couple weeks I was here at this camp. It was a lot of fun and it's weird coming back. I went on to play at the University of Oklahoma and to come back to where it all started has been a really cool experience," said Wort.
The head of the camp, Paul Sylvia, said he remembers the first time Wort played American football.
"The first time he ever stepped foot on a football field with pads on was at the Rhode Island Football Academy. And when he came here he was a pretty athletic kid. He was a big kid," Sylvia said.
Wort and his family only stayed in Rhode Island for three years due to his father's job transfer to Texas. But during his time here in the Ocean State, Wort won a football state championship at East Greenwich High School and considers this area his second home.
"Once I moved from England to here, it was a huge culture shock and lived here for three years and really enjoyed my time here. I got some really great friends here and it's almost like I never left," Wort said.
For Wort coming back here to Rhode Island was extra special to show the campers that anything is possible with hard work and dedication.
"I feel like Rhode Island kids, sometimes you get the stereotype that you know you can't have any D1 players come from Rhode Island and I feel like that's not true at all. I think coming back here and showing them that you can go on and play, I think that's a good thing for them."
Sylvia said he's happy to have Wort back.
"I mean it's great for us. It gives these kids hope thinking that if they want to play big time college football, it can happen to anybody," Sylvia said.
Wort is currently a free agent after suffering an injury in camp with the Titans, but he hopes to get back to the NFL real soon.
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