At some point, Gilman graduate Brandon Copeland will report to Foxborough, Mass., to begin the newest adventure of his football career, and he’s excited about what lies ahead with the New England Patriots.
But until then, the Sykesville, Md., native has a lot on his plate, from working with young people to helping provide coronavirus relief. Through his foundation, Beyond the Basics Inc., he’s putting on a Baltimore-area football camp for the fifth consecutive year, though this time it’ll be done virtually.
The Beyond the Basics football camp was originally scheduled to be held at Gilman June 20, but the coronavirus pandemic has altered Copeland’s plans. It’ll be held online May 16, and those interested can register on brandoncopeland.com. Typically a daylong camp focusing on community service, leadership and football, those lessons will be taught virtually this year. The camp is free.
“The material is really going to be for someone who can sit in front of a screen and take notes for awhile,” Copeland said on Glenn Clark Radio April 29. “But I promise you we have some pretty cool things and pretty cool ways to add value to the lives of not only high school athletes but just high schoolers in general, whether that’s ways to deal with obstacles or ways to think, the mindset it takes to be successful, or you want to be a better linebacker this summer or going into next season, or you need some workout ideas going into next year.”
Copeland and his foundation are also partnering with local organizations to provide coronavirus relief across the region. Copeland wanted to find a way to help out, particularly through initiatives related to frontline workers and food insecurity.
The organizations Beyond the Basics is partnering with include Feed the Fight MD and Tendea Family’s Emergency Grocery Initiative. Feed the Fight MD supports small businesses by buying lunches and dinners from “mom-and-pop restaurants and shops,” as Copeland put it, and delivers those meals to those on the front lines of the coronavirus fight. Tendea Family delivers groceries to those in need, including families and the elderly.
Beyond the Basics is matching up to $2,500 for each organization.
Copeland’s foundation is also starting an initiative called “Be A Blessing,” in which the foundation will buy groceries for those in impoverished neighborhoods in Baltimore (Copeland’s hometown), Boston (his new work home) and New Jersey (the hometown of his wife, Taylor). The foundation will match up to $30,000 for this effort.
“We definitely understand that there are a lot of people who are out here struggling to make ends meet, so we’re very conscious of that and that’s why we’re trying to help,” Copeland said. “This is not something where we’re trying to be [forceful] or pushy or anything like that. This is more about hey, we also know that there are some people out here who are looking for a way and are looking for an avenue to help.”
Copeland, who turns 29 in July, bounced around on the Ravens’ and Tennessee Titans’ practice squads at the beginning of his career (2013-2014). But the Penn product played in 60 games for the Detroit Lions and New York Jets from 2015-2019, accumulating 107 tackles and seven sacks.
Copeland signed with the Patriots in March. Though Tom Brady signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Bill Belichick is still in New England. Belichick has won a total of eight Super Bowls – six as the head coach of the Patriots and two as the defensive coordinator of the New York Giants (1985, 1990). Copeland is excited to work with the coach many consider to be the best of all time.
Copeland said he’s going to be “literally walking in with a pen and paper and a notebook every single day just taking as many notes as possible, hoping to soak up as much knowledge as possible and see how it changes this year for me as a football player mentally and physically.”
“As one of my best friends put it – he said, ‘You’re going to get your MBA in football this year. You have an opportunity to learn from the greatest football mind ever,’” Copeland said. “I can’t tell you how excited I am.”
Follow Copeland on Twitter @bcope51 for more information about his foundation.
For more from Copeland, listen to the full interview here:
Photo Credit: Courtesy of Beyond the Basics Inc.