Hometown football pro shares his skills

Community Portrait
By: Michael Kirby
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Ted Popson’s looking for a few interested kids to attend camp, have some fun and learn something about playing football. Popson is hoping to pass on some of his intimate knowledge of the game to kids ages 11 and up, knowledge he acquired playing college and professional football. Popson’s football camps will begin in mid-July with three sessions, each five days long, broken into position-specific concentrations. He’s hoping area kids will want to take advantage of an insider’s knowledge of football taught by a real NFL player. Popson grew up in Truckee and always loved outdoor activities. He played all the sports at Truckee High School except, surprisingly, football. “In high school I was a runt. I was athletic though. I played baseball, I wrestled and soccer was really my game,” Popson said. “I didn’t start really growing until my senior year in high school, and once I got out of high school is when I really grew.” It was Popson’s older brother, Dwight, who put the bug into him to play football. “My brother talked me into playing, he razzed me until I gave in,” Popson said. Popson walked on at The College of Marin, a junior college in the Bay Area and played two successful years there as a tight end. Popson was invited to spring camp at Portland State when scouts from Portland came around looking at their quarterback. They quickly noticed who was catching the passes and gave Popson a chance to “see what happens.” Popson had opportunities to play at some Division I schools but wanted to see more action. “My main objective was to play the game, and at the Division II level I though I would have more opportunities to play,” Popson said. “So in 1989 I sold my 1966 Chevy Malibu and bought a one-way ticket to Portland.” Popson found no room in the team dorms and was offered the vacant house of one of the coaches who was selling his home to take another coaching position. “They let me stay in the vacant house, no furniture, no running water or electricity. I slept on the floor and showered in the locker room and ate at the training table,” said Popson. Popson had a great training camp and was offered a two-year, full-ride scholarship after camp. In 1991 after his college career Popson was drafted by the New York Giants. “You never see it coming and in a way that worked in my favor, not expecting to be drafted,” Popson said. “I was a strong player and had a good work ethic and that always carried me.” Popson was with the Giants for a little over a half a year and broke his foot. In 1992 he signed with the San Francisco 49ers as a free agent and played with them until 1996. This stint included a great 1994 season capped with a 49ers Superbowl win over the San Diego Chargers 49-26 on Jan. 29, 1995 in Miami. Popson finished his career with the Kansas City Chiefs, retiring from professional football in 1999. Popson bought a home in the area when he played with the 49ers and found the foothills to his liking while spending summer camps with the 49ers in Rocklin. He moved here full-time upon his retirement. He has been involved in mortgage lending and remains a very active guy. Popson gets out on his mountain bike quite a bit and does a little racing, participating in the Coolest 24 endurance ride in the solo 24-hour division, and he also likes to backpack and hike in the canyons. Popson lives in Auburn with his wife and 2-year-old son. Boys interested in attended Popson’s football camps through ARD can contact him at (530) 305-7506 and learn from a pro.