Former NFL linebacker Levon Kirkland speaks to Washington County student-athletes

CHIPLEY – Student athletes in Washington County got an extra special treat on Thursday morning as former NFL All-Pro linebacker Levon Kirkland stopped by to speak to them.

Kirkland stopped by Chipley High School first and then went over to Vernon High School after that.

Kirkland played college football for the Clemson Tigers and was even inducted into their Hall of Fame in 2001.

He then went on to play 11 seasons in the NFL, nine of them with the Pittsburgh Steelers.

HeÂ’s had an impressive pro resume racking up over 1,000 tackles, almost 20 sacks and 11 interceptions, one of them famously coming against Dan Marino and his Dolphins squad in 1994.

Kirkland is now a motivational speaker and wanted to stop by the two Washington County schools to talk about athletic empowerment and teach some important life lessons.

He said the most important of them being: believe in yourself.

“They can be lessons that you can take back with you for the rest of your life, it happened to me when I was at a football camp, and a guy came and spoke to us and it kind of moved me, and I wanted to do that, you know and give back in that way, I just feel like your passion and your desire and your experience is about enriching other people,” Kirkland said.

Since Kirkland grew up in a small town in South Carolina, he said he really connected with the Tigers and the Yellow Jackets during his visits.

“I really like doing the youth development and I like talking to student athletes because we have a language and we can really relate to each other really well, so yeah its my comfort zone and because I was that student athlete myself you know I sat in those chairs that they are sitting in just like them so I can relate to them just as well,” Kirkland said.