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Ex-Seahawk, Ducks star talks teamwork at Byrom

Jordan Kent visits elementary school, hands off check.

TIMES PHOTO: JAIME VALDEZ - Former Oregon Ducks standout Jordan Kent talks with students at Byrom Elementary School during an assembly about the four principles of how to win.Edward Byrom Elementary School had a special guest Wednesday for an all-school assembly.

Former National Football League wide receiver Jordan Kent, signed in 2007 by the Seattle Seahawks out of the University of Oregon, came to the school to talk to students about the value of teamwork, as well as to hand off a $350 check.

Since retiring from professional sports in 2010, Kent has been leading summer sport camps called the Jordan Kent Skill Camps for children ages 6 to 12. One of the locations the camps are held is the Tualatin area, where Kent lives.

“As far as the Tualatin area goes, it's been wonderful to see them grow,” Kent said, adding, “It's been great being part of the community.”

The Byrom Elementary assembly was the latest in a series of four free assemblies Kent said he has led so far this spring around the area, including another at Bridgeport Elementary School in east Tualatin.

TIMES PHOTO: JAIME VALDEZ - Byrom Elementary Principal Sarah Bautista reacts after receiving a $350 check from  Jordan Kent, left, during an assembly on Wednesday.

Kent called up student volunteers for exercises meant to demonstrate four principles of teamwork: working hard, having one common goal, listening and knowing your role.

“When we play a game, take a test or try to do anything, we can't always control what happens,” he told students. “We can't control what the other team does. We can't control what questions we get asked. There's one thing you can control, and that's how hard you work.”

Kent said that “most importantly,” after competing as a track athlete, a basketball player and a football player, he ended up graduating with a business degree from the University of Oregon. He also talked about working hard during his three years in the NFL, knowing his career in professional football might not be a long one, and listening to advice from his coaches even when he didn't understand what they were trying to teach him.

“A lot of times, you've got to listen to your coaches and your teachers,” he said. “Even though you feel like, 'OK, what is this doing for me?' you've got to listen.”

Principal Sarah Bautista said Kent's lessons have applications beyond the world of sports.

“The four main points that he talked about, I think that's crucial just regardless of what we're talking about, whether it's school or citizenship,” Bautista said.

Kent said the check he gave Bautista on Wednesday represented a share of proceeds from his local skill camp, since many students from Byrom Elementary attended it last summer. He also gave out a number of autographed photographs to students who were able to answer questions from his presentation.

TIMES PHOTO: JAIME VALDEZ - Former professional football player Jordan Kent signs his autograph on Isabella Hernandez's cast after an assembly at Byrom Elementary School.

By Mark Miller
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