Josh Norman is known in the NFL as the Washington Redskins’ cornerback, and one of the best players at his position.
Around his hometown, he’d rather be known for much more.
Norman and the Boys and Girls Clubs of America plan on partnering to build a recreation center at the site of Brewer Recreation Center. Norman and a representative of Starz24, Norman’s charity organization, said construction of the facility could begin as soon as mid-July.
Norman visited Greenwood for his “Fun Day” event at Brewer Recreation Center. The event included food, bounce houses, autographs and pictures with Norman and games.
“It’s a childhood dream,” Norman said. “The kids need it. I want to give them something to look forward to. I want to give them hope, and something to aspire to. This is what will bring it to them.”
The new center is set to be built on the current campus of Brewer Recreation Center at 927 E. Cambridge Ave.
Mayor Brandon Smith said “everything is in place” for the center to be built. County manager Toby Chappell said a lease has not been signed or discussed, but he expects those talks will take place in the next 60 days.
The center will likely host afterschool programs for schools, Smith said. The building will also be home to a teen center.
Norman and the Boys and Girls Clubs of America will partner to create the center, Norman said.
“Partnerships, they’re always big,” Norman said. “Boys and Girls Clubs, they help out tremendously with Starz24 and being able to help. They’re like a titan in this game. 156 years, you can’t deny that. You can’t turn a blind eye to it.”
The building, to Norman, is a big step in guiding youth away from crime. The completion of it will be the realization of a vision he’s had for many years.
“This is everything,” Norman said. “This is what we’re here for. This is our purpose. This is what we’re here on this earth for. ... We will be able to serve over 600 kids and get them off the streets, with all that’s been going on lately. It will give them something to aspire and look forward to.”
After speaking to media, Norman signed autographs and joined a group of kids playing tug of war.
Norman was in town on the same day that his high school teammate, D.J. Swearinger, returned to host his sixth annual football camp. Norman said he always planned on giving back to Greenwood if he made it to the NFL.
“We had the Robert Brooks camp starting out earlier,” Norman said. “At one point he did it, and then he didn’t anymore and there were no more camps and no more guys from the NFL. I said to myself, once I get there, I will do this. I will be prevalent in my community.
“Everything I do, I show I care and I say, ‘You can be here too.’ It’s not enough, just having two people. There’s so many talented people in this area, not only in football but in business. You know, doctors, lawyers, teachers. There’s successful people here and we have to highlight them.”