Kids' football camps scramble without NFL players participating

Add youth football camps to the list of annual events affected by the lockout.

The 36-year-old Mile High Football Camp, run by San Diego Chargers linebackers coach John Pagano, his brother Chuck, the Baltimore Ravens' defensive coordinator, and their father Sam, will go on this summer without NFL players, The Denver Post reported Wednesday. That's because the league's rule preventing contact between players and coaches during the lockout means active players can't participate unless a labor agreement is in place by the camp's opening on June 19.

"That's just one of the things the situation has affected," John Pagano said. "That's the unfortunate thing as everybody waits to see what's going to happen. But there are a lot of stories like that, I'm sure. There are probably a lot of people around the game that could have things affected in some way if things continue the way they are. But we're all in the same boat. We're just waiting and watching right now.

"The camp is always one of the great things every offseason. I've been to every one as a participant, a counselor and now working on the coaching side. It's a highlight of the offseason, part of our vacation."

A host of NFL players, including Peyton Manning, Drew Brees and Jay Cutler, have worked at the camp for children ages 8 to 14 in the past. Pagano hopes to fill the void with more of his coaching colleagues, including new Broncos coach John Fox.

"We'll be ready for the kids," Pagano said. "We'll have a full staff of people ready to go and we're all going to be ready to coach, I'm sure. It will be nice to get on the field, be with the kids and our family, that's for sure."

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