Ben Roethlisberger took to the football field Monday—but it wasn’t to face down an opposing defensive line.
For the second year in a row, the Steelers quarterback is hosting the Highmark Ben Roethlisberger Football ProCamp for boys and girls ages 7 to 14 at Seneca Valley's NexTier Stadium.
Leslie Pentecost, sales coordinator for ProCamps Worldwide—the organization that puts together the training sessions—said about 450 youths from around the region—and even from other states—signed up for this year’s event.
Among them was 8-year-old Adam Lynch, who traveled from Jacksonville, Fla., to join his cousin, Nicholas Dyer, 8, of Lower Burrell, at the camp.
“He is Steelers everything,” said Adam’s aunt. “This is the thrill of a lifetime for him.”
Also traveling long distances to attend camp were 7-year-old twins Eian and Brogan Cambria and their big brother, 11-year-old Avery Cambria. All three boys are from Dayton Ohio, and surprisingly (or perhaps not so surprisingly) they aren’t Browns or Bengals fans.
“There are a lot of Steelers fans in Ohio,” insisted their dad, Jason Cambria.
For Cullen Shearer, attending the camp is a dream come true. The 8-year-old from West Leechburg—who attended the camp with Billie Winters, 10— even caught a pass from Roethlisberger early Monday morning.
“So his dreams came true at only 8 years old,” said his mom, who was watching her son from the stands.
Elizabeth resident Julie Byerly said her grandson, Matthew Sleith, begged for two years for permission to attend camp with Big Ben. This year, the family surprised him on his birthday by registering him for the training sessions.
“He eats, sleeps and breathes football,” Byerly said.
Joining Roethlisberger on the field Monday was the Steelers defensive end Brett Keisel, who tossed a football with attendees during a mini-game. The move prompted a ProCamp announcer to describe Keisel, sporting his trademark beard, to the crowd as “The biggest quarterback in the NFL.”
The camp also takes place today (Tuesday). Be sure to check back with Cranberry Patch for video and interviews with Big Ben and more.
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