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Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Charly Martin works with kids at his football camp last year at Piedra Vista High School.
Charly Martin is busy immersing himself in his new Seattle Seahawks playbook, but nothing could take him away from Farmington when it is time for his annual football camp.

Martin returns to Piedra Vista High School — where he graduated in 2003 on June 19-20 for the Third Annual Charly Martin Football Academy, a free camp for any second through eighth grader in San Juan County.

"This is huge. It is one of my favorite times of year, coming back to Farmington and giving back to the youth and showing them that anything they want they can achieve and encouraging them to dream big," Martin said.

Second- through fifth- grade campers meet before kids in grades six through eight. The emphasis with the younger group is to encourage them to get out and have fun while being active and introducing them to football, while the older group will focus a bit more on skill development and fundamentals, Martin said.

Martin recognizes that teaching the proper fundamentals is extremely important, especially in a time in which football is under attack because of head injuries.

Some parents are beginning to feel that football isn't safe for their kids to play, but Martin believes the game is only getting safer with more awareness of head injuries.

"The bottom line is that football is a violent sport, and you can't hide that in any way. It is a physical, full-speed game," Martin said.


"Kids are developing quicker and getting faster and stronger, so it is dangerous. But at the same time, equipment is better and the rules are evolving along with the game and player skills to help make it safer.

"The NFL has done a lot to combat that and make football a safe environment where they can protect guys. I am a huge proponent of youth football and kids playing, but they have to have the right coaches who will teach them fundamentals the right way. Like anything in life, you can get injured but it is about being prepared and smart about what you are going into."

If anyone knows about injuries, it is Martin. During his three years in the NFL since graduating West Texas A&M, Martin has had three surgeries and sustained a concussion in 2010 that landed him on the injured reserve list, ending his season.

"The best advice I have for guys is to listen to your doctors," he said. "The scary thing about concussions is you may feel better a few days later, but everything might not be right yet. It isn't about being a tough guy when it comes to your head. It is a serious issue, and people need to remember that football is only a small part of life whether you make it to the NFL or only ever play youth football. It will only last so long, and there is more to life than football."

Before reuniting with friends in Farmington for two days, Martin will attend mandatory mini camp in Seattle. He will have a few weeks off after the camp before rejoining the team for training camp.

Martin was excited about the chance of signing a two-year deal with the Seahawks three months ago. Last year he was released by the Carolina Panthers and sat out eight games before joining on with the Jacksonville Jaguars for the second half of the season.

"Sitting out last year was hard. It was the first time I had sat out that many game since I was a freshman at PV," Martin said. "I am ecstatic about my situation in Seattle. I thank God every day I can get up and play the game I love for a living."

Going into his fourth NFL season, Martin is ready to seize his opportunity in Seattle and start catching passes in Pete Carroll's offense.

"I have a lot ahead of me. I am trying every day to take advantage of my opportunity here. This is an unbelievable organization and opportunity here in my hands, and it is up to me to make the most of it," he said. "We have something special in Seattle. it is a good group of guys with young and talented players. We can fly under the radar a bit and have a very successful year if things fall into place. We have a great quarterback competition going on right now (between Tarvaris Jackson and Matt Flynn), and it is just an exciting time for us."

Martin is looking forward to showing what he can do as a wide receiver and the prospect of adding to his one career catch, but he is committed to doing whatever he can to help the Seahawks and expects to contribute on special teams.

But before he can do that, his focus is entirely on helping the youth of San Juan County, regardless of where they live or which school they attend.

"I was one of those kids going to camps in Farmington as a kid looking up to the bigger kids who played. Being able to come back and give back is huge," he said. "This is not affiliated with PV at all, but I attended PV and had unbelievable coaches who are now life mentors and like fathers to me. They help me run the camp and do all the leg work, and PV lets me use their fields for free.

"This camp is about San Juan County and reaching out to everyone in the Four Corners who can make the drive to get a few days of fun and football. A lot of camps ask you to go pay something, but all I ask is that you show up with a great attitude."

To register for the camp, email and leave your name, age and T-shirt size.