Quintin Demps Shares Lessons Learned in Pop Warner with the Next Generation

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The following is reprinted from the National Football League‘s PlayFootball.NFL.com website.

Welcome to Why We Play, a series of discussions with current players and NFL Legends about their youth football experience and why they play the game.

Quintin Demps started playing Pop Warner football in San Antonio at age 9. 

“You know we don’t play games down there in Texas — it’s dead serious,” Demps said. “Yeah, I saw that (youth football reality docuseries) Friday Night Tykes. That was San Antonio. It’s real.”

Demps took what he learned on the Pop Warner fields in San Antonio to Theodore Roosevelt High School. Demps also played basketball and ran track, but it was football that paved the way to college, earning him a scholarship to the University of Texas-El Paso.

In the 2008 NFL Draft, Demps was selected in the fourth round by the Philadelphia Eagles, kicking off a 10-year career with stints on five teams. The defensive back went to the playoffs six times and recorded a career-high six interceptions in 2016 as a member of the Houston Texans.

Demps said it all started on the Pop Warner fields in San Antonio.

“Teamwork was very important,” Demps said. “At that age there are always one or two kids who bloom earlier than everyone else. I was a late bloomer, so I learned to do my job so they could be good and help us win.

“It was the foundation for my career — that hard work and what it took to be good.”

Once Demps made the league, he decided to share what he had learned and give back to the youth in his hometown. He ran a free camp for the San Antonio youth for three years while he played.

“It was refreshing,’’ he said. “It was encouraging. It was something I looked forward to every summer. I just wanted to give back and show the kids how to do it. And let them know that if you do make it, you should come back and give back, you know help out.

“My camp wasn’t just football, it was more about dominating your mind. My message was to develop the mental toughness, what the mind of a champion is, and what it takes to be successful in life, and in school — not just in football.’’

Now Demps lives in suburban Chicago with his family, where he has begun a new career — coaching. He will coach high school football and track and field — and while the COVID-19 pandemic has put everything on hold, the former NFL safety can’t wait to get out there with his student-athletes.

“I enjoy coaching, I really do, especially on the high school level,’’ he said “They respect what I do and where I came from. And they want to learn and get better.”

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About the Author

Jeff Fisher
Jeff is an award-winning journalist and expert in the field of high school sports, underscored with his appearance on CNBC in 2010 to talk about the big business of high school football in America. Jeff turned to his passion for high school football into an entrepreneurial venture called High School Football America, a digital media company focused on producing original high school sports content for radio, television and the internet. Jeff is co-founder and editor-in-chief of High School Football America, which is a media partner with USA TODAY High School Sports.