NORFOLK, VA (WTKR)- Taylor Heinicke used to call Norfolk home as a college football player. Now he gets to return having accomplished so much more.
Heinicke was the keynote speaker at Tuesday night’s Norfolk Sports Club Jamboree at the Norfolk Waterside Marriott. He’s getting ready to begin his second training camp with the Washington Commanders and spent most of 2021 as the team’s starting quarterback. Earning a platform that lets him made appearances like this in a city that means a lot to him is something he doesn’t take for granted.
“It means I’m doing something right,” Heinicke said. “I got to spend four years here at ODU, I got to make some really nice memories, so to come back and speak at a nice event like this means a lot to me.”
The signal caller has made the most of his visit to the Mermaid City. Heinicke held a camp this past Saturday, played a round of golf with his former head coach, Bobby Wilder, on Tuesday, before arriving at the Norfolk Sports Club Jamboree.
“Every time I come back I usually try to hold a camp for some kids,” he pointed out. “We actually just held a camp Saturday, a little seven-on-seven camp from grades five through nine and it was a great turnout. A lot of kids came and they had a lot of fun. Norfolk’s a special place in my heart and I try to come back as often as I can.”
Heinicke is a week away from reporting to Commanders camp in Ashburn. He’ll presumably back up Carson Wentz this season, but knows he’s a play away from being the starter once again. Last season, the former Monarch took over starting duties in the second quarter of Washington’s opener and started 15 games for the squad. 2022 sees him entering training camp a bit more seasoned.
“There’s nothing like experience,” the quarterback noted. “When you get experience in games, especially 15 games, you understand what it takes to be successful. You understand what it takes to win and having that under my belt, I feel like I’m a lot better quarterback, a better leader, so going into this training camp I feel like I’m just ahead of the game from where I used to be.”
Also on hand Tuesday night was former Norfolk Academy basketball star Mark Williams. The Duke product was the 15th overall pick in last month’s NBA Draft by the Charlotte Hornets. He just completed a stint in the NBA Summer League where he got a little bit more accustomed to the professional game.
“I think it’s been a pretty smooth transition so far, but at the same time it was Summer League,” Williams said. “When we get to training camp we’ll have all the vets back and that will be another jump from there.”
This marked the 75th Norfolk Sports Club Jamboree.