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By lluggg585 on Jul 05, 2014 02:05 AM
Ricky Watters releases statement announcing Oak Ridge resignation

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Ricky Watters releases statement announcing Oak Ridge resignation

October 2, 2013Staff Report, Orlando Sentinel

Former NFL star Ricky Watters, who resigned as Oak Ridge High's varsity football coach, released the following statement Monday:

My mission and reason for accepting the head coach position at Oak Ridge High School was to help implement social change by teaching leadership, Wholesale NFL Jerseys discipline and accountability to players attending a school with a history of unruly behavior and a lack of discipline and respect. I knew it would be challenging after witnessing Orange County Sheriffs on horseback patrolling the campus and a student being taken away in handcuffs. I was responsible for handling discipline issues on and off the field, break up fights and coach under extreme circumstances, with a limited coaching staff, Cheap NFL Jerseys inadequate equipment, no football field and lack of funding.

However, I get passionate when I see potential in a young player who can't even see it in himself, and I know I can make a difference if I can gain his trust. I've seen far too many talented young people fall through the cracks and end up with no future. This is occurring in inner city schools across the country and is a cycle that I want to be a part of breaking. It is unfortunate that the events at the West Orange game occurred. I have nothing but respect for all of my players.

Many of my players live in single parent homes without fathers. I have listened to mothers who expressed concern that their sons will end up in jail or dead if I did not step in and help. Some of my players are forced to deal with difficult issues such as homelessness, gang violence and criminal activity such as theft and drugs on a daily basis. From my years of experience as a mentor in the foster care system, juvenile detention centers and time spent rehabilitation gang members, I have learned that it takes consistent tough love to gain the respect and instill the necessary discipline to effectively change lives. I have found that inner cities breed a culture of individuals with selfish outlooks as a result of being in a survival mode at all times, which is contrary to a culture of teamwork and unity which are key components for success.

I do know my time here at Oak Ridge has made a positive impact. Dr. Bradshaw has expressed gratitude for my efforts and the personal resources I have contributed to the school and football program. Several of my players and their parents have reached out to me expressing their gratitude, concern and wishes for my quick return. This was a difficult decision; however, I am stepping down so that my team can go on with their season without any further distractions. There are several seniors with opportunities for college scholarships and I want them to stay focused on that goal. I am sad that cannot continue to be their coach, mentor and confidant. I would like my players to know that I care deeply for them and I believe in each and every one of them. I would also like to thank y former NFL comrades Keiwan Ratliff, Eric Moulds, Dorsey Levens and Ryan Longwell for sharing their expertise, time and resources with my team. Moving forward, my focus will be on spending quality time with my two sons who kindly shared me with the players at Oak Ridge and on trying to make a difference for young people facing adversity in life like I did.
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