Yesterday afternoon, 2nd year Saints running back and last year's 2017 NFL Rookie of the Year Alvin Kamara told local reporters and writers who were on hand covering his first-ever annual Youth Camp event at New Orleans Tad Gormley Stadium in City Park, that he and the rest of his New Orleans Saints teammates are more than looking forward to the upcoming 2018 season; with the franchise just a few months removed from the heart-breaking disappointment of their last second loss to the Minnesota Vikings in the 2017 NFL Divisional Playoffs.
In fact, he even made it a point of emphasis to tell reporters and fans alike that both he team and the team have been working very hard these past several months getting prepared, for one reason and clear goal in mind: which is to essentially finish off what they first began last season: when the team bounced back strongly with an (11-5) record and won the NFC South Division Championship.
QUESTION (Barry Hirstius of Saints News Network): "How excited are you all for the upcoming season, I mean like...do you guys feel like this could be "THE YEAR" (to win the Super Bowl)?"
ALVIN KAMARA: "How excited are YOU?" (laughing)
Barry Hirstius SNN: "Well, I'm originally from New Orleans — born and raised — so.....
ALVIN KAMARA: "Are you excited?"
Barry Hirstius SNN: "I'm fired up!"
ALVIN KAMARA: "Well I'm PLAYING, so how do you think I feel?" (everyone laughs)
"Nah, we're excited and we're ready; you know I think last year we were figuring out a lot of things, and I think if you asked anybody as the season went on and (they) saw how it started coming together, I think every one began to get excited".
"So this season, we're definitely ready and excited — but now we know what to expect from ourselves — and we're ready".
Kamara was hosting the event with the help of several close friends including fellow teammate Marshon Lattimore, and they got plenty of assistance from the coaching staff and players of local New Orleans De La Salle High School head football coach Ryan Manale; who helped Kamara work with approximately 150 young boys ranging in ages from 7-8 years old to their mid-teens.
Kamara told NOLA.com reporter Josh Katzenstein that he could remember being a kid himself growing up in his native state of Georgia, and attending camps where he got to personally meet former NFL stars such as former Kansas City Chiefs All-Pro free safety Eric Berry among others and dreamed about wanting to grow up and be just like them.
"It's a good opportunity for these kids to see someone, I guess like me, putting something on like this and just giving some inspiration," Kamara told Katzenstein.
Kamara spent a majority of his time running around motivating and pushing the kids to give a maximum 100% all-out effort, and spent several minutes giving individual youngsters his own personal hands-on guidance; while making sure that they were properly utilizing the technique that hopefully will allow them to become NFL players themselves some day.
"It's not an easy camp," he said. "If you're out here, you're out here to work. I'm not going easy on anybody. If you mess up my cone or my ladder, I need push-ups...You got to do it right. That's why we're out here."
Kamara had previously hosted a camp in Chattanooga, Tenn., last month after the team's Mini-Camp, but told reporters that he wanted to make sure that he did something special for the local youth in the NOLA community as well.
"I've only been in New Orleans a short time, but it's already given me so much so I just wanted to give back," he said.
— Barry Hirstius (@BarryHirstius) July 10, 2018
Lattimore also took time to speak with reporters and said that even as well as he played last season (winning 2017 NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year honors), his overall performance didn't quite have anywhere near the level of impact that Kamara's had last year.
But he was quick to add that like Kamara, he's also ready to pick up where the team left off a few months ago, which was essentially 10 seconds away from making the NFC Championship Game at Philadelphia, and almost earning a chance to play for a shot at the Super Bowl.
"I feel like we just played Minnesota — and I remember everything from that."
Clearly, the way that the 2017 season ended for the Saints still resonates with every player that was on the roster last year, and it's given them a reason and a purpose to approach the upcoming season with.
You might even say that they're on a mission.
And judging by their comments yesterday while spending their own personal time with some of the New Orleans area's best and brightest future young stars, Saints fans know exactly what that mission will be: winning the Super Bowl, which will be played in Atlanta next February 3rd.