NEW YORK » David Clowney has been all over the map this summer, working with charities from New Jersey to Haiti.
Next stop: Ghana. And, he’s bringing new teammate and longtime friend Santonio Holmes with him.
The New York Jets wide receivers will leave for the West African country today as part of a small group that will visit a children’s hospital, schools and orphanages during the weeklong trip. They’ll also set up a game in the capital city of Accra to teach children about American football.
"We’ve got so many things that we’re going to do while we’re out there," Clowney told the Associated Press on Saturday. "It’s going to be ridiculous. We’ll do some sightseeing, too, and checking out the area itself, but for the most part it will be about the kids. We’re just going to try to help however we can."
Through donations to his David Clowney Foundation, the receiver is bringing about 250 pounds of children’s clothing with him. He’ll also be donating $1,000 to each hospital the group visits.
The group will arrive in Ghana tomorrow morning, and will return the following Monday.
Clowney, who had 14 catches and a touchdown last season, spent three days in Haiti in March as part of a missionary group that included teammates James Ihedigbo and Vernon Gholston and former cornerback Ahmad Carroll. They worked with members of Yele Haiti, musician Wyclef Jean’s charity, to help with the relief and recovery efforts following the earthquake in January.
Inspired by that trip, Clowney planned a visit to Ghana to help children there.
"I’m super excited about it," he said. "Just thinking about all the work we got done in Haiti in just those three days, I think we’re going to get an extreme amount of work done while trying to help the kids and families of Ghana."
It’s the last stop in a charity-filled offseason for Clowney, who has also held a camp and celebrity basketball event in his home state of Florida and worked with teammates’ events in cities such as Detroit and Birmingham, Ala. The Jets report for training camp on Aug. 1.
Clowney has known Holmes since the two competed against each other in track in high school. They both grew up in Florida’s Palm Beach County, and became NFL teammates in April when the Jets acquired Holmes from Pittsburgh.
Clowney’s role with the team was clouded by Holmes’ arrival, but the two aren’t letting that get in the way of their friendship. Holmes is suspended the first four games of the season for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy, giving Clowney a chance to make an impact.
"I’ve known Santonio since I was in 10th grade," Clowney said. "Him coming to New York was not the first time I was meeting him. We’ve always been good friends. With him in the picture now, of course these first four games, I’m going to have to do everything I can every time the ball comes my way. Even when he comes back, as long as we go to the Super Bowl and win, I’m going to be happy."
Clowney was pleased when Holmes told him he’d make the trip to Ghana with him.
"I convinced him to come out and show a little love and he made the choice to come and help me," Clowney said. "I really appreciate him doing that."