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Return of two Nevada alumni NFL players to Reno

By April 24, 2022September 6th, 2022No Comments
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Austin Corbett and Joel Bitonio took a trip back to their college football field at Mackay Stadium on April 23. They hosted a youth football camp where 300 kids signed up and filled the spots in less than 24 hours. 

Corbett and Bitonio are both current NFL players. Corbett recently switched from playing with the Los Angeles Rams to the Carolina Panthers as a right guard. Bitonio returns to the Cleveland Browns for his seventh season as a guard. 

The camp was two and a half hours of skill building using different drills with Reed High School football players helping run the drills at each station. Corbett and Bitonio made their rounds to each station to give their advice and help the youth improve their technique.

Afterwards, the kids lined up for autographs and pictures with the NFL players. 

Corbett had flashbacks to when he was younger and growing up in Reno and the differences there are now.

“I think that’s tough now just how much it’s changed the amount of buildings that are on campus, just all around the surrounding areas,” Corbett said. “It’s crazy just how fast it’s going and just the four years that we’ve been gone basically. It’s crazy how much it’s changed but the feeling of just walking out there in the middle of Mackay is awesome.”

Corbett learned a lot of lessons while playing in Mackay Stadium from 2013 to 2017. He earned All-Mountain West Honors and made it into the NFL. His recent Super Bowl win with the Los Angeles Rams didn’t make him forget where he came from. 

“Nevada is, you know, we’re not the biggest program, we don’t have the best stuff,” Corbett said. “That’s fine. That’s how we want it. We want to be the underdogs. We want to go get after guys and show them that like, Reno is the spotlight. This is where you’re meant to be.”

The legacy Corbett made in Nevada was important to the city of Sparks, where he was born. They announced that April 25 would be recognized as Austin Corbett Day. Corbett said that not many people know where he is from when he tells them, and they are missing out on so much.

“It’s pretty unique, a day to me, and kind of caught me off guard,” Corbett said. “You see some of those big time guys in the NFL getting those and just to get that recognition I mean, just the community that is Sparks, it is Reno, it’s so much more than people can ever see, you know, especially now going to these different cities.”

Kelsey Middleton can be reached at kelseymiddleton@sagebrush.unr.edu or on Twitter @sportsbykels

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