Friday, 08 February 2019 08:54

Trio of Raider players attend NFL Pro Bowl to watch family member Melvin Ingram

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Richmond county native and NFL Pro Bowler Melvin Ingram (orange) invited several family members to the 2019 all-star game in Orlando. Richmond county native and NFL Pro Bowler Melvin Ingram (orange) invited several family members to the 2019 all-star game in Orlando. Contributed photo.

ROCKINGHAM — Not everyone can say he or she has a close relative who plays in the National Football League. But for a trio of Richmond Senior High School football players, it’s something they can say is true for them.

Current Raiders Jordyn Wall (senior), Dereck Barringer (junior) and Jamari Broady (freshman) are all related to NFL and Los Angeles Chargers’ superstar Melvin Ingram.

Two weeks ago, Ingram, who is also a Richmond County native and a RSHS graduate, took his three cousins, and several other family members, on a trip of a lifetime to the NFL Pro Bowl in Orlando, Fla.

A defensive end for the Chargers, Ingram earned his second career nod to attend the league’s all-star game. During his 2018 campaign, Ingram played in all 16 of LA’s games, and recorded seven sacks, 43 total tackles and one interception.

Ingram’s play on defense helped the Chargers to an appearance in the Divisional Round of the 2018 playoffs before falling to eventual Super Bowl LIII champion New England.

During the Wildcard Round of the playoffs against Baltimore, Ingram went off for a team-high seven tackles, added two sacks and two tackles for loss, tacked on two quarterback hits on Lamar Jackson, and ended the game with a forced fumble and a fumble recovery.

Barringer and Wall, who are step brothers, both explained that although they are technically cousins with Ingram, 29, they view him “much more like an uncle.”

“It was a lot of fun and we’re thankful we got to go and see the NFL stars,” Barringer said. “Not many people get to do that, and being around the players made me want to push myself to get into that position.

“I’m glad Melvin invited us to come,” he added. “He wanted us to come down there and have a good time and watch him play.”

Tagging along with Barringer and Wall were their parents Dereck Barringer, Sr., and Sabrina Dawkins, as well as Ingram’s sister, Callie Ingram, and Broady, his nephew. Wall called it a “family affair.”

After arriving in Orlando for the weekend on Jan. 25, the three Raiders spent Friday hanging out with Ingram at the players’ hotel.

Adding to the experience was the opportunity to meet several other NFL stars, including Dallas Cowboy quarterback Dak Prescott and running back Ezekiel Elliott. They were also introduced to Ingram’s teammate and Chargers’ wideout Keenan Allen.

“It was really surreal being around different NFL players,” Barringer commented. “Sometimes you think they’re larger than life, but they act just like the rest of us. They’re always goofing around.”

Wall echoed Barringer, adding that one of his favorite moments from the weekend was meeting Prescott.

“This experience was something we were really fortunate to be able to do,” Wall, a Presbyterian College commit, said. “Getting to go to a Pro Bowl and meeting NFL players isn’t something a lot of people get to.

“At first it was kind of weird when we saw (the players) because I’ve only ever seen them on TV  doing great things,” he added. “Then all of the sudden they’re right in front of us. I really enjoyed meeting Dak Prescott -- he was really cool and took a picture with us.”

On Saturday, the group attended Disney World before heading to the Pro Bowl at Camping World Stadium on Sunday. During the star-studded all-star game, Ingram and the AFC team crushed the NFC 26-7. Ingram recorded a sack against Seattle Seahawk quarterback Russell Wilson.

Wall noted that Ingram has also invited him and several others to regular season games in California, but said the Pro Bowl experience was his favorite.

With the mini-vacation to Florida over, and a memory of lifetime in the books, both Barringer and Wall took a lot away from the experience that they can apply on the gridiron next season at the high school and college level.

“Melvin playing in the NFL shows us that we need to keep grinding, and we need to keep getting faster and stronger,” Barringer, a defensive back at Richmond, said. “Watching him makes me want to do better and live a life like him.

“He always tells us to be a dog on the field, and give your all every play no matter what,” he added. “It’s crazy because you don’t meet too many people in the NFL, but he’s always around to talk to us.”

Even though Wall plays on the offensive side of the ball, he explained that what Ingram does on the field can be used as inspiration for him when he suits up for the Presbyterian College Blue Hose next fall.

“He shows everyone what hard work can turn into,” Wall said. “Melvin was just an everyday person who worked really hard and made it to the NFL. Now he has a lot and is an inspiration for us.

“What I like about him is that he tells me I can prove people wrong no matter what your size I am on the football field,” he concluded.

 

Last modified on Friday, 08 February 2019 08:54
Kyle Pillar

Sports Editor. IUP communications media and journalism alumni. English teacher, Ninth Grade Academy.

Submit local sports scores to: kpillar@richmondobserver.com

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