• 66°

Walker benefit draws crowd in Philadelphia

By By Jeff Byrd
staff writer
PHILADELPHIA With the litany of players on hand from the National Football League, one could almost start his own team. But the players were here in support for one team, the Boys and Girls Clubs of Mississippi.
The Kenyatta Walker Foundation's Charity Auction and Classic Golf Tournament was the big draw for the 38 or so current and former pro athletes. Walker, a former Meridian High School Wildcat and now a starting offensive linemen for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, was astounded by the turnout at the Silver Star Hotel &Casino's Convention Center.
Today at the Silver Star's Dancing Rabbit Golf Course will be the Kenyatta Walker Benefit Golf Tournament. Proceeds from both the auction and golf tournament will benefit the Boys and Girls Club.
Why golf? Walker, who stands 6-foot-7 and weighs 300, says it's game that brings people together.
Jackson State University golf coach Eddie Payton was glad to see young players like Walker and Kenny Smith give something back. Payton, the brother of the late Walter Payton, is also looking to provide golf tips.
One of the big influences on Walker's growing up was the the director of the Boys and Girls Club in Meridian in Ricky Hood.
Hood, who has worked with the Boys and Girls Club for 14 years, always thought Walker would put himself in position to pay back.
Smith, a defensive lineman for the New Orleans Saints, was glad to help out a former Meridian High teammate.
McCleon, who started in this year's Super Bowl for the St. Louis Rams at defensive back, was impressed with Walker's efforts.