Among Jordan Poyer’s “What I did this summer” activities: Got engaged (to Maddi Sprott); played in a celebrity softball game (with Larry Fitzgerald, Colin Kaepernick, Johnny Manziel, Deion Sanders, Richard Sherman, etc.); had a strong off-season training camp with the Cleveland Browns; and — saving the best for last — hosted his second annual Jordan Poyer Football Camp.
There’s always time for local kids in Jordan Poyer’s world. He was a star in Astoria after getting started in sports on the Long Beach Peninsula while still in grade school.
Poyer was in town over the weekend, and spent Sunday afternoon on the football field, with about 80 kids, ages 5-14, who were looking to learn a little more about the game Poyer plays for a living.
For the kids, they learned a great deal in just four hours of instruction time.
For Poyer, it was one last “fun” break before the grind of another NFL season, his third year with the new-look Browns.
“It’s been pretty crazy, but I’ve had a good off-season,“ Poyer said. “I got engaged, went to (Washington) D.C. for a little bit, played in the summer softball game … it’s been fun, but it’s coming to an end quickly. Got to enjoy these last couple weeks.“
“The kids are fired up to be out here, and it’s always good to come back,” Poyer said.
It was also the camp’s first time at Columbia Memorial Field, which drew some positive reviews from Poyer.
“This is my first time stepping on it — it’s pretty awesome,” he said. “I’ll miss being at ol’ John Warren, but I could get used to this.”
Meanwhile, the players Poyer will be facing on the field one month from now will be a little older and a lot bigger. He’s ready for the challenge.
“This next year is going to be a big year for me,” said Poyer, who has already impressed many with his performance in Cleveland’s recent off-season training camp. “I have a lot of expectations for myself. Year 2 was a plain and simple year — I came out healthy and I was satisfied with it.”
In 2014, “I didn’t accomplish a lot of things that I wanted to,” Poyer said during a visit to Astoria earlier this year. “I came out healthy, and played well enough to stay on the team. I played on special teams mostly, and played about 30 snaps on defense towards the end of the season. It was not the season I wanted to have, but at the same time it helped me get ready for this next year.”
Listed ahead of Poyer on the depth chart last year was Jim Leonhard, a free safety who retired at the end of the 2014 season, after 10 years in the league.
“Jimmy Leonhard had basically the position that I would have played this (last) year,” Poyer said. “It was his last season, and I kind of studied under his wing. The coaches wanted me to play one year in that system, and come in next year and have the role that Jimmy Leonhard played — to come in on second-and-long plays and third down situations.”
Poyer would also like to get in on some special teams action, fielding kickoffs and punts.
“I want to return again, really bad,” Poyer said. “All four phases of special teams, I don’t mind playing, going out there running down field and trying to make plays.”
Even before the draft and some off-season moves, Poyer said, “I definitely feel like this team will be a lot stronger that it was last year. There’s just a couple pieces here, that if we can put it together we’ll be a really strong team, all around.”
Specifically, the Cleveland secondary has been called one of the best in the NFL.
“I felt our defense played great, our offense played really well at times,” Poyer said. “If we just put everything together throughout a whole season, I think we can be really dangerous.”
Individually, Poyer was honored as one of the NFL’s 11 best players on kickoff coverage, as selected by Pro Football Focus.
“Anytime you get recognition for anything — especially in the NFL — I feel like it’s a pretty good accomplishment.”
Poyer will return to the Pacific Northwest Dec. 20, when the Browns play at Seattle.