ESPN analyst vows Texans will be a playoff team in talk at ex-NFL player's foundation gala
Former NFL player Moran Norris recently gathered a group of his celebrity friends to celebrate the 10th anniversary of his foundation. The Moran Norris Foundation believes that every child, when given the opportunity, can overcome negative obstacles and realize their dreams. But they need the help and the guidance to do that.
The star-studded and action-packed weekend included a free football camp for kids on Saturday and a celebrity-laden gala Sunday.
The Follow Me To The Stars Gala at Hotel ZaZa began with a VIP cocktail hour where guests mingles with former player and coach-turned-ESPN-broadcaster Herm Edwards. The evening included a robust silent auction, an introduction to six scholarship recipients from the Moran Norris Foundation, and many jokes. The event was emceed by KHOU sports anchor/reporter Matt Musil and KHOU meteorologist Chita Craft, who was still glowing and wearing white next to her new husband, Lane Craft.
Norris, with wife Tamara Norris, arrived in a 650i convertible, courtesy of BMW of West Houston. Norris and his wife both wore signature blue, which coincidentally matched the exterior of the car, and he even went the extra mile, matching his shoes to the “peanut butter” insides of the vehicle. Talk about arriving in style.
In a keynote address, Edwards mixed solid leadership advice, jokes about the game (especially the NFC East) and a nod to the upcoming Super Bowl Houston will host in February.
“You will get an opportunity in life. Take advantage of that. Set your own standards of what you want to become. You have to be willing to bet on yourself – even if no one else will. You will be good enough. When you’re a follower you get the same view every time,” Edwards said.
He even made a reference to Houston’s own, Earl Campbell, saying his shoulder started hurting as soon as he saw Campbell’s jersey at the silent auction.
You can’t come to Houston with the football acumen Edwards has and not make a season preview for the Texans. “Houston has the ability to get off to a good and fast start. This is a team the arrows are pointing up. You have a quarterback that hasn’t played 16 games, that’s the question,” Edwards said. “Can Clowney become the guy everyone wants him to be? I don’t know. I didn’t say that. They’re all good on paper until someone hits them in the mouth."
“Houston’s going to be a playoff team,” he continued. “I think you should be excited about hosting a Super Bowl, but temper your excitement. This city does a great job. When you have the ability to give back, give back."
Saturday afternoon's football camp, hosted at Houston Baptist University, was filled with nearly 300 kids running drills and learning basics from the pros in the scorching Houston summer heat. Music station 97.9 The Box was on site playing music so every inch of the field had a fun vibe to it. “Giving back is so important. I grew up in Houston and I just like giving back. I do it because it’s something that’s in my heart, and I enjoy putting a smile on kid’s faces,” Norris said of his foundation.
Others in appearance for the weekend included Vernon Davis, Frank Gore, Chester Pitts, Travis Johnson, Chad Hedrick and more.
The annual weekend has had such a huge impact on Houston for over a decade that Mayor Sylvester Turner officially named June 26 as Moran Norris Day.