NEW YORK // David Clowney has been all over the map this summer, working with charities from New Jersey to Haiti. Next stop: Ghana. And, he is bringing his new teammate and longtime friend Santonio Holmes with him. The New York Jets receivers leave for the West African country today as part of a small group that will visit a children's hospital, schools and orphanages during the week-long trip. They also will set up a game in the capital city of Accra to teach children about American football.
"We've got so many things that we're going to do while we're out there," Clowney said. "It's going to be ridiculous. We'll do some sightseeing, too, and checking out the area itself, but for the most part it will be about the kids. We're just going to try to help however we can." Through donations to his David Clowney Foundation, the receiver is bringing about 113 kg of children's clothing with him. He will also be donating US$1,000 (Dh3,672) to each hospital the group visits.
The group will arrive in Ghana tomorrow morning, and will return July 26. Clowney, who had 14 catches and a touchdown last season, spent three days in Haiti in March as part of a group that included his teammates James Ihedigbo and Vernon Gholston and a former teammate, Ahmad Carroll. They worked with members of Yele Haiti, musician Wyclef Jean's charity, to help with the relief and recovery efforts following the earthquake in January.
Inspired by that trip, Clowney planned a visit to Ghana to help children there. "I'm super excited about it," he said. "Just thinking about all the work we got done in Haiti in just those three days, I think we're going to get an extreme amount of work done while trying to help the kids and families of Ghana." It is the last stop in a charity-filled offseason for Clowney, who has also held a camp and celebrity basketball event in his home state of Florida and worked with teammates' events in cities like Detroit and Birmingham, Alabama. The Jets report for training camp on August 1. Clowney has known Holmes since the two competed against each other as sprinters in high school. They both grew up in Florida's Palm Beach County, and became NFL teammates in April when the Jets acquired Holmes from Pittsburgh.
Clowney's role with the team was clouded by Holmes's arrival, but the two are not allowing that to get in the way of their friendship. Holmes is suspended for the first four games of the season for violating the NFL's substance abuse policy, giving Clowney a chance to make an impact. "I've known Santonio since I was in 10th grade," Clowney said. "Him coming to New York was not the first time I was meeting him. We've always been good friends. With him in the picture now, of course these first four games, I'm going to have to do everything I can every time the ball comes my way. Even when he comes back, as long as we go to the Super Bowl and win, I'm going to be happy."
Clowney was pleased when Holmes told him he would make the trip to Ghana with him. "I convinced him to come out and show a little love and he made the choice to come and help me," Clowney said. "I really appreciate him doing that." Clowney, Holmes and a few other Jets teammates ? including the receivers Jerricho Cotchery and Aundrae Allison, the tight end Dustin Keller and the fullback Tony Richardson ? recently participated in a passing camp set up by Mark Sanchez in Southern California. It gave them a chance to solidify their bond with the second-year quarterback, who missed a chunk of the off-season workouts while recovering from surgery on his left knee.
"It was really good," Clowney said. "We ended up really getting a lot done." The camp ? dubbed "Jets West" ? ran for five days. It was not all work, though, for the players who paid their way to get there but were treated to some events by Sanchez. They attended the baseball All-Star game and home run derby in nearby Anaheim, and the ESPY sports awards ceremony in Los Angeles. The group also stayed at a luxury resort in Newport Beach.
"It was a nice little week for us," Clowney said. "Some of the guys brought their families. It was just a good opportunity for us to be close and stay together." * AP