NFL Legend Eric Moore Talks Being a Role Model and Teacher as a Youth Coach
Welcome to Why We Play, a series of discussions with current players and NFL Legends about their youth football experience and why they play the game.
When Eric Moore was growing up in Pahokee, Florida, there was no youth football program in the area.
So after the former defensive end retired from the NFL in 2011, he decided to start coaching young players.
"A friend of mine got me into it," Moore said. "After I was finished playing, I started to miss the game. I coached high school football for a year, but I really liked coaching youth football better."
"The young kids were more open to learning," he said. "They listened. They comprehended, especially when they found out that you did something that they want to do."
Moore's playing career can certainly stand as an example for young players. While he didn’t play organized football until middle school, he had learned from playing with and watching his older brothers and caught on quickly.
Moore helped Pahokee High School to the Florida finals as a junior, earned a scholarship to Florida State University, and was drafted in the sixth round of the 2005 NFL Draft.
He played in the league for seven seasons with stints on the Giants, New Orleans Saints, St. Louis Rams, Carolina Panthers, and New England Patriots, interspersed with two seasons in the UFL.
Moore got into coaching in Miramar, Florida after retiring from football. Moore's first youth football team was a group of 10-year-olds who Moore coached through their 13-year-old league.
His message was simple and to the point — play hard, play together, listen and learn.
"Discipline and togetherness were what we tried to get across," he said. "And to stay humble. At that age they took it all in and looked to you as a role model. So you wanted to show them the right way to do things and how to handle things. I really enjoyed it."
Moore continues to give back to up-and-coming players. He currently operates a training facility out of Florida and Georgia with clients ranging from high school players getting ready for college to young NFL players who want to get better.
"I work mostly with defensive ends and linebackers," he said. "Just teaching them some of the things I’ve learned over the years."
Moore said he tries to instill the lessons he learned when he was starting out, and add wisdom from his years in pro football. He still remembers learning about teamwork on his first team in middle school.
"It was very important," Moore said. "You had to put yourself in a mind frame of the team concept. Togetherness. It was pretty cool and we had a lot of fun playing. I loved it."
Photo: AP/Tom DiPace
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