Tourney, football camp is Marques Harris’ way of giving back
It was evident Marques Harris was a gifted athlete when he patrolled Stocker Stadium.
His talents led him to a five-year NFL career, mostly with the San Diego Chargers, before he retired last summer.
Now, the 29-year-old is giving back to the Grand Junction community through the Harris’ Kids Foundation. Its purpose is to raise funds to help cover the costs of sports equipment and uniforms for kids who might not have a chance to play a sport otherwise.
Harris was in town Friday, talking about his celebrity golf scramble and football camp this summer in Grand Junction.
“Being in the position I’ve been over the years, it’s almost a given,” Harris said. “If you are given an opportunity and you are able to play that long, I think you owe it back to your community. It’s not something I owe to the community, but it’s something I want to do for the community, give back, because of the opportunities I’ve had.
“Everybody knows how the economy is and has been affected one way or another. I think sports programs are one of the big areas affected. If we can raise money and donate it back to schools, we can make everything better.”
The Celebrity Golf Scramble is July 8 at the Golf Club at Redlands Mesa. Each team of four will have an opportunity to have a celebrity or athlete in their group, Harris said.
Harris has commitments from former San Diego Charger teammates Quentin Jammer and Jacques Cesaire, along with former area prep standouts Andrew Walter and Riar Geer.
There are several more he’s in contact with to come, including some Colorado Avalanche players and UFC fighters.
He hopes to get more NFL players, but it will depend on if or when the NFL lockout is lifted.
The cost is $150, which includes the green fees, range balls, cart, food, drinks and prizes. There will be an opportunity to get photos with the celebrities as well.
Hole in one prizes include a cars donated from Ed Bozarth Chevrolet and from Belcastro Auto Sales, a Harley-Davidson motorcycle and an all-terrain vehicle.
Other prizes include Callaway drivers and putters for long drive and closest to the pin competitions. There will be a grand prize for a team with the lowest score to be announced.
The scramble, which costs $150 per person, starts at 1 p.m. Participants can register at http://marquesharris.com.
The non-contact football camp is for boys in grades 4-8 at 8 a.m. on July 9 at Mesa State College’s Bergman Field.
Harris and certified strength and conditioning coach and athletic trainer Loren Landow will run the football camp with a handful of other athletes.
“It’s going to be a great day of fun and drills,” Harris said. “Obviously football drills with speed and agility training.”
Proceeds from the golf scramble and football camp will go to the football programs at all four District 51 high schools.
“It was important for me not just to focus on Grand Junction High School, but I was able to get together with all the (District 51) high school football coaches. I told them I want to have an event that’s going to be huge,” the 2000 Grand Junction graduate said.
Harris played for the Chargers from 2005 through 2008. He split the 2009 season between the San Francisco 49ers and Chargers.
“I was definitely blessed,” Harris said. “I worked for everything I was given. Coming out of college with a broken leg obviously affected my draft status. Going in as a free agent, the numbers were always against me. I was able to overcome that and do what it took to make the team.
“I think the Chargers recognized that and knew they could count on me. I think that’s why I was able to make it as long as I did.”
He retired in 2010 despite a one-year contract offer from the Chargers. He had back surgery and wanted to spend more time with his wife and two children.
“After (surgery), I was able to rehab and come back and play, but it was never the same,” he said.
“Being married and having two kids, my future with my family is the most important thing. Being able to get out with my kids was very important with my decision. I was at a point I could make that decision.”