NFL stars bring American football to Algarve this weekend

It is this weekend (March 10-11) that a group of star players from the USA’s National Football League (NFL) will be in the Algarve to hold an American football training camp.

Taking place at the Algarve Stadium, the training camp will feature a contingent of 15 current and former NFL players who will be teaching the basics of the sport as well as more advanced techniques.

The list of players scheduled to attend includes Hall of Famer and former Buffalo Bills wide receiver Andre Reed; Oakland Raiders running back Marshawn Lynch; former Pittsburgh Steelers and Carolina Panthers running back DeAngelo Williams; Indianapolis Colts defensive ends Barkevious Mingo and Jabaal Sheard; Colts defensive backs Chris Milton and Matthias Farley; and Browns quarterback Kevin Hogan.

Also on the list is Atlanta Falcons guard Ben Garland; New England Patriots defensive back Johnson Bademosi; Pittsburgh Steelers fullback Roosevelt Nix and tight end Xavier Grimble; Texans quarterback Josh Johnson, and former Tampa Bay Buccaneers and New Orleans Saints fullback Erik Lorig.

The group is already in Portugal, spending some days in Lisbon before travelling south to the Algarve.

The event is being brought to the Algarve by American Football Without Barriers (AFWB), a non-profit organisation that “provides sports performance training camps in the US and internationally, as well as health and fitness workshops, mentorship, scholarship programmes, and education programmes for boys and girls”.

Lance Heron, head of the Algarve Sharks American football team, was the one who reached out to the organisation and pitched the idea to hold the training camp in the Algarve, an idea that was warmly welcomed by AFWB.

“We are honoured to have NFL players take time out of their busy offseason to come spread American football across Portugal,” said Algarve Sharks Coach Lance Heron.

“It is the first time we can remember this many NFL players coming to our country. We feel blessed they are willing to commit their time to growing American football as well as highlighting Portugal’s nonprofits that are doing great work in our community.”

Gary Barnidge, former Cleveland Browns star and one of the founders of AFWB, said that the goal is to “visit countries where the NFL has not invested heavily to help grow the sport”.

“It’s a great privilege to use our platform as current and former NFL players to help grow the sport we love, as well as use the media exposure to highlight nonprofits that are helping to improve the lives of future generations.”

An autograph session with the players will take place at Forum Algarve in Faro on Friday (March 9) at 7pm, while the training camp will be held throughout the following two days.

Sport TV will be the event’s national broadcaster although many international news organisations will also be covering the training camp.

More information is available on the event’s official Facebook page (AFWB/Algarve Sharks NFL Players Camp).