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Chad, ‘fin’ friends, open up at Webb
Miami QB Pennington, ex-Spartan, invites All-Pros Brown, Marshall, teammate Turner to annual camp

You know the old saying: keep your friends close and your Dolphins closer.

Actually, three of Chad Pennington's Miami Dolphins teammates — two All-Pros and a promising receiver — were more than willing to be close to the action during the annual Pennington Quarterback-Receiver Camp for high school and middle school players July 12-14 at Webb School of Knoxville.

“I just simply asked them,” said Pennington, former Spartans All-state quarterback preparing to enter his 11th National Football League season, about All-Pro teammates Ronnie Brown, running back, and Brandon Marshall, wide receiver, plus Patrick Turner, second-year receiver.

“I told them, 'I think it's going to be a different camp than you've ever experienced. ... You'll be able to interact with them and teach them your skills,'” Pennington said about his sales pitch for a one-day visit, Tuesday, July 13.

“I also promised them I'd have them down here in the morning and back in the evening.”

About 80 young football players attended the three-day camp Pennington said is much more than “just running through the motions. We really try to teach them the game.”

About his Tuesday instructors, Pennington said, “I have a really good relationship with all three of them. I know Ronnie relatively well; Ronnie helps me with my fundraising, my foundation ... We talk a lot.

“We were injured together last year, so we were in the training room talking.”

Brown said he came “in support of Chad, with a part of him giving back to the community, and just being able to be a part of something like this.”

Brown said he and Pennington “have established a friendship outside of football. I think that's a great part about our sport, we have an opportunity to meet a lot of different guys from different backgrounds.

“You all come together and try to make a team work,” he added. “You obviously establish relationships off the field.”

Fox Fellhaur, 13, a rising eighth-grade football, soccer and basketball player at Knoxville Christian School, had a few moments to chat with Brown after Tuesday's work.

Fox said he briefly talked to Brown “about his pro life and how rich he is. And he was talking about having to go green, about [riding] bicycles. He's pretty cool.”

About Marshall, a former Denver Broncos All-Pro wide receiver traded to Miami in the off-season, Pennington said, “Over the last three months, we've started to work out together.”

With Pennington looking to fully recover from shoulder surgery, “We're rehabbing together because of his hip injury,” he said. “So, I've gotten to know him. He is a really good person.

“He jumped out in our camp [Tuesday] and was full go from the very get-go,” Pennington added. “Got into it coaching these kids, enjoyed it.”

Marshall said he was “invited by Chad, and I wouldn't miss this opportunity for the world, especially when you have a guy like Chad doing something so special in the community and for the kids. You want to be a part of something like this.

“It makes me feel good just being able to give to younger guys; wisdom and different techniques that they can use on the field,” Marshall added. “That was my first time meeting Chad when I got traded. I gotta say already he's one of the best teammates I've had. I gotta say he's a stand-up guy, he's a true professional and I'm excited to learn from him.”

Leaving Webb and headed back to Florida, Marshall told a handful of campers, “Alright boys, hey, you all keep working hard.”

Turner said, “We just thought it would be cool to come out here and support [Chad]. We've had a good time teaching and running around out here with the kids. A good deal.

“Both of us are from Tennessee, so we automatically already have an understanding,” he added. “Probably raised pretty much the same, in the same state. I was getting out here with a guy like that, an older, veteran guy who knows a lot about the game.”

Pennington said, “You've got to be careful about perception versus reality, but these guys are really real. It shows you what type people they are to come out from Fort Lauderdale to Knoxville, Tennessee for the day.”


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