Former Charter Oak High School football standout and Super Bowl champion Jason David is taking the term “giving back to the community” to a different level.
Following a five-year career in the NFL that was highlighted by being the starting cornerback for the Indianapolis Colts in Super Bowl XLI in Miami, David has had little trouble keeping busy.
But whereas some former professional players turn their energy toward starting new business endeavors and rarely are seen again in their hometown, David has found a way to do both. The beneficiaries are local athletes who have a chance to learn under him.
“It’s not really like something’s happened in my life that’s forced me to do it,” David said about his desire to give back. “I’m just a really giving person. I don’t look at it like I’m supposed to, I have to, I’m obligated to.
“Maybe I’m just a people person. I just enjoy people. I like to make sure the people I’m around are happy.”
Now 29, the local star who overcame being told by many experts he was too small to succeed in college, let alone the pros, because of his 5-foot-9, 170-pound frame is a visible face in the area showing the next group of would-be stars his tricks of the trade.
Sure, David has dipped his toe in the business world by starting Sports Training and Rehabilitation Services (STARS) in Orange County. And when he’s not dedicating time to that, you usually can find him on a local field helping the next generation of would-be stars work toward their dreams.
Once a year, however, David hosts a youth football camp for players between the ages of 7-18. The first year he did it, about 50 youths participated. The following year the number was 325. Finally, David had to cap this year’s group at 250.
It doesn’t end there for David, though. Last August, he held workouts at Citrus College for high school players in their dead periods, and it wasn’t only about getting Charter Oak’s athletes better.
Players from Bishop Amat, Walnut, Chino Hills, Damien and Glendora also showed up to participate. This offseason, David helped USC’s Victor Blackwell, Oregon’s Devon Blackmon and UCLA’s Dietrich Riley.
“I’m always open to help individuals if they want to get better,” David said. “It’s not just about the Victor Blackwells and Devon Blackmons of the world. Those guys are already talented and they don’t really need me for too much.
“It’s more about the guys who need to get better. Those guys are more fun. I like to call them fringe players, because they’re on the cusp of being good but aren’t really there yet and they need a few other pieces to get them there. That’s what I have a passion for.”
Despite his willingness to help anyone and do it for free, it’s clear David’s heart still is with Charter Oak.
When the NFL was in a labor dispute, David lobbied for Charter Oak to be the host site of a workout for locked-out players staying in the Los Angeles area. He got it done, and on July 6 about 30 professional players worked out in front of fans at David’s alma mater.
“When we were talking about it and it was just an idea, I was pushing for Charter Oak,” David said. “It’s not Hollywood and it’s not the coast in Orange County, but to me it’s a beautiful place. I really wanted to bring it home.”
David made himself a visible and vocal spectator at Charter Oak passing games this summer. Then, along with his sister Joni, he took on the task of keeping the Chargers in shape during the dead period, during which coaches could not have any contact with players.
You might think with so many things going on in the Valley that David actually lives here. Not so. He and his wife Kristel Smith David, herself a Charter Oak graduate and sister of former Chargers standout Keith Smith, live in Costa Mesa. That means long journeys to the Valley and often at the wrong time of day from a traffic standpoint.
“It’s one of those things where you just kind of get used to it,” David said. “There’s a lot of time to just think.”
Nobody knows exactly what goes on in David’s mind while he’s thinking. But judging by his actions, it must be something along the lines of doing what he can to help the next undersized prospect find a way to realize all the achievements he did.
“I always joke with the kids and tell them that I’ve got the blueprint,” David said. “I’ve done it. I’ve lived it. They want to go to the NFL and Division 1 schools and do well. I tell them they can have the same success that I’ve had.”
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