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Top NFL Stars, Future Stars Offer Highlights at 2018 Panini Pop Warner Skills Clinic

February 3, 2018

Pop Warner Main

MINNEAPOLIS — Friday night inside the Downtown Minneapolis YMCA, Panini America and Pop Warner joined forces for the 11th Annual Panini Pop Warner Skills Clinic as more than 100 players from area Pop Warner programs were treated to expert coaching — and memories of a lifetime — thanks to NFL stars David Johnson of the Arizona Cardinals, JuJu Smith-Schuster of the Pittsburgh Steelers, Patrick Mahomes II of the Kansas City Chiefs and top 2018 NFL Draft prospects Baker Mayfield of Oklahoma University and Ronald Jones II of USC.

The result: Wall-to-wall smiles on seemingly every face in the house (especially the guest coaches), football fundamentals across five drill stations and a true night to remember just two days before Super Bowl LII.

Strategically placed across the sprawling gymnasium floor, quarterbacks Mahomes II and Mayfield drilled young Pop Warner athletes on the finer points of the passing game; elsewhere Smith-Schuster stole the show while getting down on the kids’ level to deliver hands-on pass-catching and route-running tips. For their part, running backs Johnson and Jones II worked with the kids on ladder drills, spin moves and the best way to receive handoffs and pitches.

But no matter how insightful their on-field teachings were, to a man, the NFL stars in attendance — who worked up just as much sweat as the kids they were coaching — stressed the importance of education, passion, having fun and working hard. Those points certainly weren’t lost on the young athletes in the gym, including Panini Super Bowl Kid Reporter Natalie Blank.

You can check out some of the memorable scenes from the 11th Annual Panini Pop Warner Skills Clinic in the gallery that follows, compliments of Pop Warner photographer Gerardo Mora. But first . . . the must-see recap video:

Now . . . to the images:

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