On Tuesday, June 14, Jaguars wide receiver Ernest Wilford spoke to a group of children attending the Community Connections Summer Camp on the north side of Jacksonville. The children he addressed ranged in age from five to 15. His motivational speech touched on many aspects of life, including his own.
Wilford, a second-year player from Richmond, Virginia, spoke of his rough times growing up and how life wasn't always easy.
"You have got to apply yourself. Nobody is going to give you anything in life; you must work hard in order to be successful," he told the students.
Wilford then added, "My teachers were my role models growing up. Listen to your teachers; they love you and want you to succeed."
He shared with students the fact that now that he has reached the NFL, he has to work even harder than ever before.
"My day begins every day at 5:00 in the morning. I have a morning run, and then I come to the stadium and get a workout in. I attend meetings, have practice, and watch film afterwards. It's a very grueling day. However, I want to be the best player that I can possibly be, so I'll do whatever it takes."
After he finished his motivational talk, Wilford participated in a question-and-answer session with the students. One of the questions posed to him was whether he gets frustrated with the lack of passes thrown his way.
Wilford replied, "It's not about how many balls I have thrown my way. We have a lot of great players on our team. Everybody on our team wants what's best for our team. It's not about individuals; it's a team effort. If I continue to work hard, good things will happen."
After he answered all the students' questions, Wilford autographed a team photo for each of the attendees, more than 150 in all. All of the children left camp on this afternoon excited and inspired by a few words of motivation from a hard-working professional football player.