ALLEN PARK -- May and June is the time of year when NFL players get back on the field, taking
part in organized team activities as they ramp up for the opening of training camp in July.
For the Detroit Lions, it's also an important time year to raise money for local charities.
The Lions host a number of annual functions, ranging from a traditional golf outing to the more
unorthodoxbocce ball tournament. This year they're adding a new event to the lineup -- a fishing
tournament. It's scheduled for June 12 at Kensington Metropark in Milford, Mich.
"I think this is unique," Lions defensive end Kyle Vanden Bosch said. "It's good for us. A lot of the
players grew up hunting and fishing. It'll be a lot of fun for us to be there, but also, people in
Michigan -- There's a lot of fishermen and hunters around here."
The tournament will be hosted by Bassmaster champion, and Kalamazoo native, Kevin VanDam.
Lions players scheduled to participate are Vanden Bosch, Jahvid Best, Nate Burleson, Nick Fairley, Calvin Johnson, Brandon Pettigrew, Tony Scheffler, Stephen Tulloch, and Willie Young.
Young, an avid fisherman, is particularly excited about the chance to compete with VanDam, an icon in the sport.
"Having this opportunity is like playing with Michael Jordan in a national championship game," Young said.
Young admits that he'd love to pursue a professional fishing career when his days in the NFL are done. He'd even bring Vanden Bosch along for the ride.
"Oh yeah, definitely," Young said. "(I'd) get KVB next to me to keep me company. He showed me some pretty good skills when we were out at Bass Pro Shop. I was impressed with him."
The tournament will run from 12:15-4:15 p.m. and will be followed by a weigh-in and awards dinner. Fans can purchase tickets to attend the dinner $100 by calling the Detroit Lions at (313) 216-4173.
There are also still spots open to enter the tournament. A three-person team with their own equipment and boat can join for $1,500.
For a $3,500 sponsorship, two participants can be on a guided boat with one of the fishing professionals or Lions players.