Tifton Gazette


July 16, 2014

Dean’s Back to School Rally set for Saturday

TIFTON — Tifton’s Larry Dean has gotten some frequent flyer miles in during June and July.

After going through some preseason practices, the Minnesota Viking linebacker came home to Tifton last month to host his annual football and cheer camps. He traveled back to Minneapolis following the camps to do some preparatory work for the upcoming season.

This weekend he will return home to host his annual Back to School Rally at Mott Litman Gym. The event will be Saturday from noon to 3 p.m.

School supplies will be given out for area children in grades K-8. There will also be a live DJ, bounce houses and other activities for the children.

There will also be a raffle with prizes including a trick bike, iPad, a Viking pink snapback autographed by Minnesota star running back Adrian Peterson and a football autographed by Dean.

With all of the other activities going on, there will also be refreshments and soft drinks available for those in attendance.

“I am very excited about coming home and helping the kids go back to school,” said Dean. “That is one of my goals to stress the importance of an education to the kids in Tift County, and south Georgia.”

Entering his fourth year in the NFL, Dean will be undergoing some changes this season.

Dean and the Vikings will be playing their home games in the elements this year at the University of Minnesota. That is because the Metrodome was demolished to make way for the Vikings’ new dome stadium that is scheduled to be ready for play in 2016.

“It’s going to be exciting. You never know what kind of climate you will be playing in, so you won’t know what to expect,” said Dean.

Besides the new home field, the Vikings have a new head coach, Mike Zimmer, who replaced Leslie Frazier.

“We are trying to lay the groundwork for a successful season. We are getting acclimated, and finding a niche in his system,” said Dean.

One thing that hasn’t changed is Dean’s special team prowess. He usually leads the teams in special teams tackles, and has helped to contribute to a number of big kickoff and punt returns.

Since Dean began his career with the Vikings, the team has averaged about 26 yards per kickoff return, and has four kickoff returns for touchdowns.

The Vikings have also returned two punts for touchdowns, as well.

“We are just always looking forward to the next big return,” said Dean. “We just want to take everyone to the house.”

Local fans could have a chance to see Dean in person this season as the Vikings are scheduled to play Tampa Bay in late October.

“I have always appreciated the support of my hometown,” said Dean. “It would be fun to see a big Tifton crowd down in Tampa this year.”

Saturday’s Back to School Rally is one way Dean hopes will repay the loyalty local fans have shown him.

“I just hope we can reach each young one, teach them to be good people and to pass it on to the next generation,” said Dean.


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Jensen Rainey (left) and Josie Arant will both be participating in the U.S. Kids Golf World Championship next week in North Carolina.

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