Steelers’ running back DeAngelo Williams, however, has seen that passion firsthand.
Williams was among a group of NFL players who witnessed that popularity of football overseas when he once again took part in camps with American Football without Barriers (AFWB) earlier this month.
This wasn’t the first time Williams embarked on a trip overseas to share his knowledge about football, but it was the first time it went to a land where pyramids are more popular than touchdowns as this year’s camp was held in Cairo, Egypt.
Williams is on the board of AFWB, a non-profit that hosts camps to develop American football in other countries. The camps help support football clubs in leagues in those countries, while encouraging sportsmanship and physical activity.
The group worked with the Egyptian Federation of American Football and conducted a coach’s camp and football camp.
“It’s unbelievable to take the game international,” said Williams. “Especially to take it to players who want to learn or get better or polish their skills from NFL players.”
The camp focusing on players, both men and women, from levels that range from basic to advanced players, from kids to adults.
“We went over there and taught them safety and things of that nature,” said Williams. “Football can be played anywhere. The fact of the matter is you have to play it safe and with the proper equipment.
“We just went over there and buttoned up a couple of the things that needed taken care of and we addressed it.”
Williams got involved with the camp through Cleveland Browns linebacker Gary Barnidge, who was his teammate when both were in Carolina. They also reach out to the community in other ways, including a visit to a children’s hospital to see cancer patients and visited other places to help in the community.
“Gary and I were really close and he asked me if I wanted to come,” said Williams. “I had never been out of the country and we went to China on the first trip.
“It’s a great experience for the players too. We are passing the knowledge along. When we went to China they didn’t think they could play football like we do and they can. Going to Brazil, where soccer is prevalent, the footwork there was amazing. It always astonished me how many women play football. It’s been an amazing experience everywhere we’ve gone.”