(Tampa) The 89th East–West Shrine Game® roster included over 100 players, either drafted or signed as free agents, headed to NFL training camps this summer. That’s a lot of talent playing in a game dedicated to supporting Shriners Hospitals for Children®. Every year, the game gives players a chance to show pro scouts their skills, while bringing the community together in support of the kids and the hospitals.
“Once players get into a NFL camp they have a chance to compete for a job,” said Harold Richardson, East–West Shrine Game executive director. “It’s great to see them rewarded for their hard work! But, what really has us excited is the way the Tampa Bay community is coming together in support of the game and the hospitals. Combining great football with a great cause is what makes it more than just a game,” said Richardson.
Forty-three players from the 89th East–West Shrine Game were selected in the 2014 NFL Draft. Twenty-seven defensive players were drafted, including 15 defensive backs, five linebackers and seven linemen. The offensive saw 16 players drafted, including two quarterbacks, six lineman, five wide receivers, two tight ends and a kicker.
This year’s draft highlights include Eastern Illinois quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, chosen by the New England Patriots; Canadian offensive tackle Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, chosen by the Kansas City Chiefs; and Auburn punter Steven Clark, also a Shriner, who signed as a free agent with the Denver Broncos. Here’s just a taste of the players and their stories.
- Garoppolo electrified the 89th East–West Shrine Game crowd by leading the East all-stars on a 66-yard touchdown drive in the final 51 seconds of the first half. He completed 9-of-14 passes for 100 yards and one touchdown.
- Duvernay-Tardif played his college football at McGill in Quebec, Canada. At 6’5”, 298 lbs. Duvernay-Tardif’s aggressive play impressed the Chiefs enough to give him a shot at the NFL. While he’s rated the top prospect in the 2014 Canadian Football League Draft, he’s also maintained a 4.0 average in med school.
- A Shriner himself, Auburn punter Steven Clark is rated one of the best punters in the nation. He was thrilled to be invited to play in the East-West Shrine Game. Now he keeps his NFL dream alive competing as a free agent for a job with the Denver Broncos.
Over one hundred players headed to NFL training camps – all from a game dedicated to supporting Shriners Hospitals for Children. The only way you top that is by lining up and kicking off again next year. “We’re already hard at work planning for the 90th East-West Shrine Game. Our goal is to fill the stadium for the kids,” said Richardson. Kick-off will be at 4 p.m. ET, January 17, 2015, at Tropicana Field in sunny St. Petersburg, Fla. Game week activities begin January 12th, including player practices, a silent auction, and the Players’/Hall of Fame Banquet. Visit shrinegame.com for details.
The East-West Shrine Game is the longest running college all-star game in the nation. It supports the 22 Shriners Hospitals for Children, and their mission of advanced medical care, research and education dedicated to treating children with orthopaedic conditions, burns, spinal cord injuries, and cleft lip and palate.
The East-West Shrine Game is the longest running college all-star football game in the nation. Since 1925, the game has benefited Shriners Hospitals for Children and its mission to provide advanced care for children with orthopaedic conditions, burns, spinal cord injuries and cleft lip and palate. For more information, please visit shrinegame.com.