NFL Pro Bowler Antoine Bethea hasn’t let the lockout stop him from showing off his football skills. The former Howard University star returned to the District last week to host the Antoine Bethea Youth Football Camp on the campus of his alma mater.

From June 20-21, Bethea, who currently plays safety for the Indianapolis Colts, joined Howard’s football team coaching staff as they worked with campers from age 14 to 17 years old, offering them valuable advice for them to use both on and off the football field.

The camp focused on the basic skills of football, but also featured study sessions for the upcoming school year. Carl Goode, of Empowering Minds, administered a SAT prep session for all participating campers.

“I feel that the camp really allowed us to reach out to these young men and give them a different perspective,” Bethea said. “Football was the common denominator, and we used that to draw them in while emphasizing the importance of getting an education, working hard, and making good choices.”

Bethea told campers about his college experience, and encouraged them to take advantage of a college experience themselves. “My time at Howard University was the best four years of my life,” he said, “I’d like for other students to be able to have that experience.”

Bethea has a reputation for mentoring and supporting youth athletes. He took 20 students from his former high school, Denbigh Senior High in Newport News, Va., and awarded them a free tour of Howard and George Mason University. He also hosts several free football camps in Newport News during the offseason.

One of few current NFL players to have come from a historically Black college/university (HBCU), Bethea received several Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference honors during his tenure at Howard. He was selected by the Colts in the sixth round of the 2006 NFL draft, and helped Indianapolis win the Super Bowl his rookie year. Bethea has been selected to two Pro Bowls since entering the league, quickly becoming one of the top tacklers in the NFL.