The impact of the NFL Draft will extend far beyond the Auditorium Theatre through the NFL's many community events planned for Draft week throughout Chicago. From hospitals to schools, flag football to family Heads Up Football clinics, thousands of local children and their families will experience the excitement of Draft through a series of free events.
"Chicago is thrilled to welcome the 2015 NFL Draft to America's heartland in just a few weeks," said Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel. "NFL fans from across the country will travel here or tune in as the future of their team is decided in Chicago, and residents will have a number of opportunities to participate in draft activities. This marquee event represents both a tremendous economic opportunity and a wonderful promotional opportunity for Chicago."
The following are some of the ways that the NFL will celebrate Draft week in Chicago. Full details on each of these events will be available via media advisories in the coming weeks:
Youth Football Clinics, NFL PLAY 60 Clinic Field presented by Danimals, Grant Park:
More than 1,500 local children from schools and organizations will take part in private youth football clinics at the NFL PLAY 60 Draft Youth Football Festival at Grant Park on April 29-May 2. Participants will participate in 60-minute NFL FLAG clinics, led by USA Football coaches, alongside current and former players. NFL Draft prospects and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell will also attend the clinics.
Organizations taking part in the private clinics include:
- Abbott Middle School
- Academy for Urban School Leadership
- Agassiz Elementary School
- Boone Elementary School
- Davis-Richmond Elementary School
- Grove Junior High School
- River Trails Middle School
- Special Olympics Chicago Park District
- Sumner Math and Science Community Academy
In addition to these private clinics, thousands of children from the Chicagoland community are invited to take part in public youth football clinics, which will take place in Grant Park April 30-May 2. To sign up for the clinics April 30 and May 1 on a first-come, first-served basis, parents may click here. The clinics May 2 will be via walk up only.
The first-ever NFL Draft Family Football Clinic, to be held May 2, will give kids an opportunity to participate in a youth football clinic while their parents listen to football-themed discussion panels. The event, open to 250 parents and kids, will conclude with the parents taking the field to participate in USA Football Heads Up Tackling drills. Learning tackling fundamentals is part of USA Football's medically endorsed Heads Up Football program. Clinic participants will include Heads Up Football Advisory Committee member Chris Golic and her husband Mike Golic of ESPN's Mike & Mike, as well as local youth and high school coaches and representatives from the Chicago Bears.
Families may register on a first-come, first-served basis at: https://nfldraft.fishsoftware.com/prereg/.
A group of NFL Draft prospects will spend time with pediatric patients and their families and cheer them on while they participate in a PLAY 60 obstacle course at Shriners Hospitals for Children on Thursday, April 30. Another group of Draft prospects will spend time with local high school students as part of an event hosted by Youth Guidance, a school-based nonprofit organization dedicated to student engagement and violence prevention. The prospects will discuss topics including integrity, positive anger expression and self-determination with young men and women from the program.
On April 29, a group of NFL players will visit Lurie Children's Hospital and help host a TV show, which will be broadcast into patient rooms. They will also play games with the children and their families in the Family Life Center.
In addition, on April 28, representatives from the NFL Player Engagement Department, including former players, will host 400 local high school students for a day-long event designed to educate students about careers in sports outside of the field of play. During the event, hosted in collaboration with Why Not Sports Inc., students will hear from sports professionals in a wide variety of positions, as well as from former professional athletes who have transitioned to other careers in the sports industry. The program will also feature an education session in which students will identify signs of healthy and unhealthy relationships and discuss effective strategies for violence prevention.
NFL FLAG Football Festival
Together with Chicago Sport & Social Club and USA Football, the NFL will host the first-ever NFL FLAG Football Festival on Saturday, May 2, in Grant Park. The event is open to approximately 800 youth and adults ($250 per team), and games will be played on Hutchinson Fields and the NFL PLAY 60 Clinic Field presented by Danimals. Teams can register at www.nflflagfestival.com in the following categories:
- 9/10 co-ed, 11/12 co-ed, 13/14 girls, 13/14 boys, adult co-ed recreational, adult-coed intermediate, adult women's, adult men's intermediate and adult men's competitive.
-- NFL Communications