FanSided KC Kingdom: Dontari Poe Capitalizing on Moment to Build Personal Brand
By Derek Helling
Dontari Poe, a current National Football League free agent nosetackle, who played his first five professional seasons with the KC Chiefs, is focused on much more than just finding his next NFL destination this off season. The 26-year-old Memphis, Tennessee native is also heavily engaged in building his off-the-field brand as well.
Later this month, Poe will be engaged with a big event for his charity, Poe Man’s Dream. In May, Poe will be a speaker at the fastest-growing technology conference in the United States, Collision. In addition to that, Poe is a spokesperson for Coca-Cola and Nike and is looking to further his investment footprint in technology.
It’s Poe’s vision for technology that has driven the second annual Poe Man’s Challenge, this year to be held in San Francisco, California. The event features a live “Shark Tank” format in which tech startups local to the San Francisco area will pitch to Poe and other judges, with the winner of the competition getting a $15,000 investment from Poe. The event also has an added element of local startups teaching underserved youth about entrepreneurship and making pitches to investors.
“The companies that get selected for the challenge have to mentor the kids during the day,” Poe said. “That’s the most important part of the whole thing. We want real founders to teach the kids. We want the kids to be ‘founders for a day.’ I like the fact that entrepreneurs like to help each other out.”
The Poe Man’s Challenge has become an integral part of Poe’s brand, and he plans to expand it in the future.
“We are planning one in Memphis and want to do another one in Kansas City. I like the midwest because there are a lot of good companies that are cheap to invest in,” stated Poe. “It’s a shame that the midwest does not get much investment focus. I feel there is a big opportunity in the midwest.” Also in keeping with the theme of technology, Poe is actively looking to expand his portfolio in that sector. He is already invested in Lab Sensor Solutions, which provides real-time location and temperature tracking technology.
“As an investor, I can’t comment on who has pitched me,” explained Poe. “That’s part of being an investor. You have to keep that stuff private. I can say they are in digital health, financial services, education, VR/AR, and AI. All of them are trying to not only make money but help people. I like companies that are solving real problems and trying to help people. The Lab Sensor Solutions investment has opened up more deal flow for me. I also got invited to speak at Collision because of my investment.”
Collision, at which Poe will partner with Lab Sensor Solutions for his presentation, is an opportunity that Poe is anticipating in the interest of continuing to build his brand.
“I’m looking forward to that,” Poe elaborated. “There will be a lot of startup people and companies to check out.”
At Collision, he also plans to capitalize on his recent notoriety regarding his play on the offensive side of the ball on the football field to make himself stand out. Poe said that he plans to incorporate the terms “Bloated Tebow Pass” and “Hungry Pig Right” in his presentation. I do plan on using that in my talk at Collision in New Orleans,” Poe commented. “I got invited to talk about how I pick companies to invest it and that’s part of it. I can’t talk too much about that because we have some fun stuff planned for the talk.”
SportTechie: Kansas City Chiefs’ Dontari Poe Hosting ‘Shark Tank-Like’ Competition As Part Of Charity Event
By Mark J. Burns
During the NFL offseason, Kansas City Chiefs defensive tackle Dontari Poe is holding the second iteration of his Poe Man’s Challenge and bringing underserved youth together with local San Francisco startups for a Shark Tank-like competition and charity event on March 30. Poe, who is an investor in Silicon Valley healthcare startup Lab Sensor Solutions, is calling for local entrepreneurs and company founders to first volunteer to teach at-risk youth about entrepreneurship and how to pitch an early-stage company in front of judges. Those entrepreneurs who apply and are selected will teach a small group of two to three students about their company, with the students then having three minutes to pitch the entrepreneurs’companies. The winning student team will receive scholarships from the Poe Man’s Dream Foundation. “It’s always intriguing in San Francisco, the kind of startups out there and the environment they have,” Poe said. “Kansas City was also really intriguing for me because that’s where I play, and second, you figure out how many startups are growing here.”
Prior to the first Poe Man’s Challenge held in Kansas City, Poe told SportTechie how important it is for students to get exposed to startups at a young age even if they never pitch their own companies, calling it an “important life skill.” The second part of the March event will feature the individual entrepreneurs pitching their companies to a handful of judges, including Poe, Marvin Liao (Partner, 500 Startups), Don Loeb (Vice President, Corporate Development/Strategy, Techstars) and Elizabeth Yin (Partner, 500Startups). Following the pitches, the judges will select a winner who will receive a $15,000 investment from Poe himself, which will be contingent upon company due diligence. The 26-year-old Memphis, Tenn. native said he is hoping the second installment is “bigger and better” than the first but will still keep the same main goals around educating underserved middle school and high school students along with teaching them valuable business lessons. One hundred percent of ticket purchases to the event will be donated to Poe’s Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit.
Building Bots for Messenger – Tips from the Experts: ChatClub
By Mike Cohen
ChatClub is a platform that helps create bots, no coding required. Whether you’re an artist who needs help engaging with fans, a brand looking for a new way to reach your customers, or a business that wants to give people a quick way to browse your products and services, ChatClub can help you distribute content and monetize your bot efforts.
ChatClub recently sat down with us to discuss their Messenger bot:
In 100 words or less describe what your company does. We are a platform that offers engagement and monetization tools across messaging apps for all kind of companies, brands and celebrities. We help page owners connect with tools like group chat, quizzes, content and push notifications, and more, in a few minutes. Who are you trying to reach?
Our worldwide audience consists of Page owners who do not have technical expertise and/or time to develop a bot with a lot of different features. We also target developers who want to use their tools on a platform that already has the biggest media groups, sports teams and celebrities in Latin America.
How did you go about designing your bot? First, we thought about providing bot development to non-tech people. Our main goal is to help Page owners increase engagement and therefore, develop a potential to monetize afterwards. All that in a friendly environment.
Our killer feature is that we are an all-in-one platform with a lot of different and complementary features that you can insert in a single bot. Every week, we try to release new updates made by our team and developers from all over the world.
Undefeated: Chiefs’ Dontari Poe does it big on offense and defense
The crazy versatile defensive lineman is ready for the biggest game of his career against the Steelers. By Jason Reid
The Kansas City lineman didn’t have nearly enough voicemail space on his phone for all the well-wishers. It’s what happens after you become the heaviest person in NFL history to run for a touchdown andthrow a touchdown pass. Dontari Poe, who’s listed at 6-foot-3, 346 pounds, accomplished that just a couple of weeks ago. And it took him about that long to return all the missed calls. He had to put in work to smooth things over. He spent days thanking everyone who celebrated his improbable scoring pass — easily the most fun moment in a regular season mostly devoid of fun. Who wouldn’t get a kick out of watching one of the biggest guys in a sport full of biggest guys show off some quarterbacking skills? After all, football still is just a game.
“And you know what? Sometimes it’s just good to go out there and have some fun,” Poe said after Chiefs practice recently. “Man, just having fun, that’s what got us all playing this game in the first place.” Some games, however, are more important than others. For the first time since the 2010 playoffs, Kansas City will open the postseason on its home field. The Chiefs play host on Sunday to the Pittsburgh Steelers in the AFC divisional round, with the winner advancing to the conference championship game. The Chiefs, who tied for the AFC’s second-best record, earned a bye in the previous round. They’re hoping that starting out on their turf will be a springboard to the Super Bowl, a game they haven’t played in since winning the Super Bowl championship after the 1969 season. So, yeah, it’s been a minute. Time to end the drought, Poe says. And he intends to do everything he can to make it happen. The most important player on the Chiefs’ defense will have a lot on his shoulders against the Steelers, who embarrassed the Miami Dolphins during their blowout victory in the wild-card round. Kansas City will rely on Poe to control the middle of the line and make it tough on Steelers superstar running back Le’Veon Bell to get going. That’s a big job. But, as we’ve learned from his highlights reel, Poe is a very big man.
His first touchdown came last season on a one-yard run against the San Diego Chargers. This season, in a 26-10, Week 6 road win over the Oakland Raiders, Poe caught a pass from quarterback Alex Smith on a screen play for another one-yard score. The play was ruled a lateral, giving Poe his second career rushing touchdown. Then, in a Week 16 matchup with the Denver Broncos, Kansas City head coach Andy Reid expanded the big fella’s role on offense. Late in the Chiefs’ 33-10 win, Poe lined up at quarterback. From the wildcat formation, he took a direct snap, ran forward a few steps as if he planned to go up the middle, stopped, jumped in the air and connected with tight end Demetrius Harris for a two-yard score. Predictably, Poe’s dope move ignited a party from the stands to the Chiefs’ sideline at Arrowhead Stadium. Poe became the talk of the league after nailing the play Reid dubbed the “Bloated Tebow Pass.” (While in college at Florida, former NFL signal-caller Tim Tebow once completed a touchdown pass on a jump-throw after faking a quarterback sneak.) Poe has been so good with the ball in his hands that his teammates, especially those on defense, get hyped whenever Reid opens the playbook for one of Poe’s special plays, “but it doesn’t just happen as easy as it looks, we put in work on it,” Poe said. “Like the touchdown pass, it was actually up [included in the game plan] for a couple of games. But Reid only usually calls plays like that in certain situations, depending where we are on the field. That week in particular, we got on the spot that we wanted to be. But even then, you still don’t know for sure that he’s gonna call it.” Read Full Article HERE.
Dontari Hangs with the Harlem Globetrotters
Dontari Talks Touchdown Pass
Dontari Talks about His Touchdown Pass against the Broncos with SiriusXM NFL Radio on December 27th.
Dontari Interviews with KPRS FM Radio
Check out Dontari's interview with Playmaker from K103 Radio on the Poe Man's Challenge and more!
Dontari Poe: Veteran Kansas City Chief, rookie tech investor Bobby Burch November 18, 2016
Quarterbacks know the Kansas City Chiefs’ Dontari Poe as the hulking 346-pound defensive lineman that’s planning to smash their offensive aspirations.
But the tech community may want to acquaint themselves with Poe as a forward-thinking investor that is starting to evaluate deals around the nation. The two-time Pro Bowl selection recently invested in Lab Sensor Solutions, a company based in Redwood City, Calif., that created mobile sensors to track the temperature and location of laboratory samples.
While Poe is still learning the Xs and Os of tech investing, his first startup investment was spurred on by his vision of the future.
“Tech is all around us,” Poe said. “The top companies in the stock market are all tech companies. I’m investing because that’s the way that the world is moving. Everything we do now is based on technology. The younger generation is all about tech. I feel like there is growth everywhere in tech.”
So what prospective investment opportunities pique Poe’s interest? He said that he eyes companies that help people. And if the firms can’t easily communicate what they do, Poe added, there’s little chance he would back it.
“What it comes down to is how easily the company can explain what they do — nothing is that complicated that you can’t explain to someone like your grandmother,” Poe said. “The companies that I like are the ones that can explain what they do in a language that I understand. … That’s how we do it on the field. Break it down into simple pieces that everyone can understand. Tech is no different. Companies are no different.” Poe said that a quality team is also an important component to his investment decisions. While it must solve a real problem, the team must believe in the company mission beyond just making money.
Adaptability is a key attribute as well, he said.
“Like in football, things can change and a good team can read the offense or defense and adjust their game,” Poe said. “That’s important. Teams need to be open to change when it makes sense. Be flexible.”
Poe isn’t the only high-profile or former athlete that moonlights as an investor. He joins the likes of LeBron James, Roger Federer, Magic Johnson, Michael Jordan and Tiger Woods as athletes that also make investments.
Beyond an interest in tech investment, Poe also is hoping to make an impact in the Kansas City entrepreneurial community. In addition to educating himself on the area entrepreneurial community, the 26-year-old is launching Poe Man’s Challenge, a competition that pairs up 8 area startups with 30 high school students to “sell” the founders’ company to celebrity judges.
Set for Dec. 13 at Think Big Partners, Poe said the challenge aims to educate and inspire.
“Startups are everywhere,” he said. “It’s important that kids get exposed to what startups are all about. It will put them in a good position. I feel that they’ll be ahead of me, at my age, if they start now. … Even if they never do a startup, learning how to pitch is an important life skill. We are always pitching ourselves for all sorts of things.”
Chiefs' Dontari Poe hopes to make it a good holiday season for local youth Terez Paylor November 18, 2016
Chiefs defensive tackle Dontari Poe hopes to make it a good holiday season for local youth.
In addition to his annual holiday T-shirt fundraiser, which raises money for his charity (Poe Man’s Dream Foundation), Poe is also holding an inaugural “Shark Tank”-like challenge for local at-risk youth.
The event, called Poe Man’s Challenge, is designed to teach young people how to pitch their own startup, which they will have an opportunity to do during the event on Dec. 13 in Kansas City.
“My idea was just doing something outside the box, something that kids generally don’t get from foundations,” Poe said. The event will feature a panel of celebrity and tech judges, including Poe and his teammates, who will judge which startup pitch is the best and award a scholarship to the winning team.
Poe is looking forward to the event, which will raise money for his Poe Man’s Dream Foundation. The foundation’s stated mission is to give underserved youth opportunities for success by providing them resources for personal development.
“It’s the minds of the youth; we were all once kids,” Poe said. “We want to put kids in position to thrive and put positive energy in the kids’ heads.”
The event will run from 6-9 p.m. at the offices of Think Big Partners in Kansas City. Tickets start at $30 and include food and drinks. There will also be a raffle and a silent auction of autographed memorabilia. Tickets can be purchased at PoeMansDream.org.
Dontari Interviews with 610 AM Sports Radio
Check out Dontari's Interview with Bob Fescoe on November 2nd about the Poe Man's Dream Foundation, Sports and more!
Go Away With ... Dontari Poe Jae-Ha Kim November 1st,2016
Kansas City Chiefs defensive lineman Dontari Poe loves football almost as much as he enjoys helping children. His Poe Man's Dream Foundation started off with an annual free football camp for kids in his hometown of Memphis, Tenn. It has since grown into a program for children in Memphis and Kansas City, Mo., where they are given support with tech events and a three-month program called Dream Big Build Strong. "That program teaches them about healthy living and eating, and provides additional educational support," says Poe, 26. "I speak with our board and team on a regular basis to figure out what sort of programs make the most sense for these children. I grew up in the inner city, so I have an understanding of what the kids there need." For more information on Poe and his projects, check out his website and follow him onTwitter. Q. What was the first trip you took as a child? A. My first trip was going to Six Flags in St. Louis, Mo. I had a really fun time with my family. Maybe it was like foretelling the future, because I ended up being a NFL player in Kansas City. Q. Which city has the most vocal football fans -- both good and bad? A. Of course, I think that Kansas City fans are the best! They are so supportive of their team. I have to say that Oakland has the worst fans. They are so loud, will say anything and curse you out. Q. What was it like playing exhibition games overseas? A. I've only played an exhibition game in London and it was really fun there. That was actually the first time I'd ever traveled overseas. The fans were really into the game. Q. What is your favorite vacation destination? A. I love the beach and how relaxing everything is in Miami. The nightlife in both places is really fun. I would recommend walking down Ocean Drive, then I'd tell them to go to Wet Willies for one of their drinks and then walk right across to the beach after. I also like Phoenix. Q. What untapped destination should people know about? A. Salt Lake City is an untapped destination, in my opinion, when it comes to the nightlife and going out. People usually think about going there to get to the snow, but I've had a lot of fun going out to clubs, bars and restaurants. Q. What's the most important thing you've learned from your travels? A. To never take a bag that you love and never check your bag. You never know what can happen to it if you let it out of your sight. I'm a minimalist, so I really don't need much. I believe in packing very light. I honestly would say the only "must-have" item I need is a toothbrush. Q. Where are your favorite weekend getaways? A. Los Angeles and Miami. I usually do annual trips with my high school friends and sometimes with my teammates, and those are really fun places for going out. The restaurants were really good. Q. What are your favorite cities? A. Miami, L.A., Salt Lake City, Memphis, Houston and Kansas City. It's sort of a tie between a few of them. Q. Where would you like to go that you have never been to before? A. I would love to go to Africa some time. I'm not sure where exactly yet, but I feel like it'd be an incredible experience to go and experience the culture there. Q. What would be your dream trip? A. Going to the Maldives. As you can see, I like beach settings. Q. What is your best and/or worst vacation memory? A. My best vacation memory was going out to L.A. with my high school friends. We rented a house together. I don't even remember sleeping the entire weekend. My worst vacation memory was going out to Miami for spring break with my teammates and I was flying out alone. I missed my flight in Atlanta and got stuck there for a whole day. I ended up getting on a plane the next day. By the time I got to Miami, there was only one day left to hang out.
(Jae-Ha Kim is a New York Times best-selling author and travel writer. You can respond to this column by visiting her website at www.jaehakim.com. You may also follow "Go Away With..." on Twitter at @GoAwayWithJae where Jae-Ha Kim welcomes your questions and comments.) (c) 2016 JAE-HA KIM DISTRIBUTED BY TRIBUNE CONTENT AGENCY, LLC.
Dontari Interviews with ESPN Radio
Listen to Dontari's interview with Jeff Dickerson and Jonathan Hood of ESPN Radio about his recent touchdown, his efforts with Poe Man's Dream , and more.
Dontari Interviews with S iriusXM NFL Radio
Check out Dontari's Interview with Hall of Famer Bill Polian and Alex Marvel on October 18th about his play against the Raiders and more.
Ex-Tiger Dontari Poe gives back to Wooddale with free camp Tom Schad June 25, 2016
Eight years after graduating from Wooddale High School, Dontari Poe was back at his alma mater Saturday morning, strolling across the football field that he knows so well, where his path to the NFL began.
It was important to Poe, a former Memphis defensive lineman who now plays for the Kansas City Chiefs, to start here. When he launched his nonprofit foundation, Poe Man's Dream, he wanted the first event to be in his neighborhood, in his city.
"Home is where the heart is," Poe said. "I know what these people are going through. I know how everyday life is, because I was just here. I just went to this school (and) graduated in 2008. So I know what it's about."
Poe hosted a free football camp for approximately 200 local children at Wooddale on Saturday through his new nonprofit, which aims to support underserved middle-school and high-school students in Memphis and Kansas City. The 25-year-old had long been thinking about ways to give back and started working to turn his idea for a foundation into reality over the past year.
"Ever since I got to the NFL, I wanted to help out kids, kids coming from the same place I came from. I always wanted to do that," Poe said. "We started talking about it the end of last season, and it just came to fruition this summer."
Poe was a two-star recruit coming out of high school and was largely overlooked at Memphis, as the Tigers won just five games in the three years he was on the field. He shot up draft boards after an impressive showing at the NFL combine and has since gone on to make the Pro Bowl in two of his four seasons with the Chiefs.
Over that same time frame, Memphis' football program has experienced a similar rise, winning a program-record 19 games over the past two years. Though Poe was disappointed to see coach Justin Fuente leave for Virginia Tech, he said he's loved watching the program grow from afar.
"When I was there, it wasn't nowhere near like it is now," he said. "I'm sideways about coach leaving, but at the same time, that's what you do. You do good, you get motivated and you move up. It is what it is. But I feel like the new coach will do just as good. I feel like they've got a whole new mindset up there. I feel like it's totally different. I think they'll be all right."
As the Tigers try to maintain their recent success, Poe may soon be trying to sack another former Memphis star in the NFL: Quarterback Paxton Lynch was recently drafted by the Denver Broncos, the Chiefs' AFC Western Division rival.
"It's cool," Poe said with a smile. "I mean, he's my boy, but at the same time he's going to have to understand that business is business."
In the meantime, Poe is excited about continuing to expand the reach of Poe Man's Dream. He plans to orchestrate a backpack drive for local children later this summer and donate turkeys to families on Thanksgiving, while working his way up to larger and more intricate events.
"This is just a starting point," he said. "The more people I can touch around here, the more it'll spread and the bigger it'll get." For more information on Poe's foundation, visit poemansdream.org.
Dontari Poe Brings Dream to Memphis Frank Murtaugh June 20, 2016
Dontari Poe was a good player for some lousy football teams at the University of Memphis. Over his three seasons (2009-11), the Tigers went 5-31, bad enough for two coaches — Tommy West and Larry Porter — to be sent packing. A gap-plugging nose tackle, Poe was good enough to earn second-team all-conference honors in 2011 and attracted enough attention from NFL scouts to declare for the draft with a year of college eligibility remaining. (Five wins in three seasons. Wouldn’t you?!)
Then at the 2012 NFL combine, Poe became a star. Tipping the scales near 350 pounds, Poe bench-pressed 225 pounds an astonishing 44 reps, a number topped by only five men in the history of the scouting extravaganza. But when he ran the 40-yard dash in 4.98 seconds — at 346 pounds — Poe climbed into the first-round mix, a combination of size, strength, and speed rarely seen without green skin and an Avengers affiliation. That April, the Kansas City Chiefs chose the pride of Wooddale High School with the 11th selection, the highest any Memphis Tiger had been drafted since defensive back Keith Simpson went ninth (to the Seattle Seahawks) in 1978.
And Poe hasn’t disappointed. He played in the Pro Bowl after both the 2013 and 2014 seasons, then last November became the largest man ever to rush for an NFL touchdown with a one-yard plunge in a win over the San Diego Chargers. He turns 26 in August so hopes the prime of his career has just begun.
Poe travels frequently between Kansas City and Memphis, returning to his hometown for visits with his mom, Chrissandra Simmons, and to support the Tigers when the Chiefs’ bye week allows him to visit the Liberty Bowl on a fall Saturday. But the trip Poe is making this week will have extra meaning. He’s hosting a free football camp for kids at Wooddale High, the first event coordinated by Poe Man’s Dream, a nonprofit foundation with a mission to lift and support under-served youth in the Memphis region.
“This is for people who are like I was as a child,” says Poe. “As a kid, I would wish for someone to come along and, not so much give me anything, but just tell me how to get things done. There’s no better way to get somewhere than to listen to someone who’s already there, where you want to be. That’s the inspiration behind this. I was in a position that a lot of these Memphis kids are in today.”
Poe and his two older brothers grew up with their mom as the standard for hard work, perseverance, and optimism. Poe Man’s Dream is a way to share those standards with hundreds of kids. Says Poe, “For me to be able to accomplish what I have, and go back to lend a helping hand — anything I can to help them — is really big for me.” Poe has wanted to start the foundation for some time now, but took care in finding the right people to support the cause. Most of the staff at the football camp will be volunteers.
Soon enough, Poe will be in training camp for his fifth NFL season. Only three franchises — the Cleveland Browns, Detroit Lions, and New York Jets — have suffered longer Super Bowl droughts than the Chiefs, who last appeared in the sport’s showcase after the 1969 season (Super Bowl IV). “It’s been a long time,” says Poe. “I feel like every year is our year, but especially this year, because we have a lot of pieces together, and we’re all growing. Both as people and players.” The Chiefs have enjoyed three straight winning seasons and reached the playoffs in 2013 and 2015. They beat Houston in a wild-card game last January before losing to New England in the divisional round.
When asked about his leadership role with the Chiefs, Poe acknowledges and accepts his veteran status. Even in the NFL, a man of Poe’s size can send a message in ways few others can. This Saturday in Memphis, thanks to Poe Man’s Dream, dozens of kids will get a message (or two) that should inspire for years to come. “More than anything,” he says, “[I lead] by example, not talking. That’s just how it is.”
Atlanta Falcons agree on one-year deal Chris Wesseling March 16, 2017
Poe made a positive impression on Quinn earlier this week, stopping by Atlanta's headquarters during a free agency tour that included visits with the Colts, Jaguars and Dolphins. He was ranked No. 10 overall on Around The NFL's list of the top 101 free agents. The former Memphis star is reuniting with Falcons assistant general manager Scott Pioli, who drafted Poe at No. 11 overall -- back in 2012 when Pioli was running Kansas City's front office. "Poe is an athletic, big guy that can push the pocket," GM Thomas Dimitroff said Thursday in a statement released by the team. "He will add to our defensive line group and will mix nicely with (Vic) Beasley, (Grady) Jarrett, (Derrick) Shelby and (Adrian) Clayborn. We are happy to be able to add him to our roster." When healthy, Poe is among the most athletic interior defenders the league has seen. He blew up the 2012 scouting combine in the 40-yard dash, the 10-yard split and the bench press. Although he was deserving of a Pro Bowl selection as an exceptionally disruptive force in 2013 and 2014, he hasn't played at that level since undergoing back surgery in the 2015 offseason. The prove-it deal allows Atlanta to gamble on Poe on recapturing that Pro Bowl form without committing beyond the 2017 season. If Poe does excel in Quinn's system, he will form an imposing interior duo with Super Bowl LI star Grady Jarrett.
Memphis native Dontari Poe hosting local football camp tom schad May 29, 2017
A year ago, when Dontari Poe decided to create his own nonprofit foundation, he knew he wanted to start it in Memphis, with a football camp for kids. On Saturday, he and a handful of other NFL players will be back for round two. The Memphis native and Atlanta Falcons defensive lineman will host his second annual All-Star Football Camp on Saturday morning at Wooddale High School through his foundation, Poe Man's Dream. From 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., he will lead local children through a series of drills alongside Houston Texas safety and Memphis product Lonnie Ballentine, Chicago Bears defensive end Jaye Howard and others. Last year's camp brought in approximately 200 children, and Poe hopes Saturday's event can be even better. "We found out a lot of stuff that we can improve on," Poe said in a phone interview last week. "It was good, and we plan on making it better." The annual football camp is just one of the charity events that Poe has hosted as part of his foundation over the past year. He also held a backpack drive later in the summer and donated turkeys to families before Thanksgiving, and plans to repeat both events again this year. As a Memphis native and Wooddale graduate, the 26-year-old nose tackle always knew he wanted to give back to Memphis, first and foremost. "I know the mindset, I know the mentality of people there," he said. "Sometimes kids might not understand how much good they can get out of the city. A person like me coming around and just showing them the positivity (can help)." "As long as I’m helping kids in some type of way, some type of positive way, I feel like I’m doing what I need to do with the foundation." As he continues to grow his foundation, Poe is also stepping into a new locker room when the Falcons begin organized team activities, more colloquially known as OTAs, on Tuesday. After five seasons and two Pro Bowl appearances with the Kansas City Chiefs, he entered free agency this winter and signed a one-year, $8-million contract with the Falcons in March. Poe said he had a great conversation with Falcons coach Dan Quinn, who has a strong defensive background, during his visit to Atlanta. But ultimately, he said, there was one reason he signed with the reigning NFC champions: He wants to win. "I feel like when the team wins, everybody on the team gets better," Poe said. "So as long as I was around a team that had the possibility of winning, that I could come in and help them get to where they needed to be, I felt like that was all I needed." As Poe prepares for his sixth NFL season, with his second NFL franchise, he has never lost sight of his roots in Memphis. When asked about fellow former Tiger DeAngelo Williams' recent comments about the university teaching him "how to grind," Poe said he agreed. "I feel like there’s some truth to that, because going into Memphis, you’re kind of the underdog at all times," Poe said. "You’re not going to one of these major schools like an Alabama or something like that, so it’s just a constant grind. It's a grind to try to reach the top. "So I think it did teach me a lot, but at the same time, at some point, it was just on me, too. Just knowing what I had to do to get to where I wanted to go."
To Get Involved
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