Former UofM star receiver: “It is good to give back to the kids in any way that I can. I got the opportunity to hang out with them and that is nice as well.” (Courtesy photo)

Former University of Memphis wide receiver and now Chicago Bears wideout Anthony Miller recently made a trip back to the city to, among other things, pay a visit to a group of young followers.

Miller, through his connections with former Tigers associated with the Ira Samelson Jr. Boys and Girls Club at 894 Isabelle, became a mentor for the kids at that facility.  

Club Director Gwendolyn Woods and Program Director Nyrone Hawkins are both former Tigers.

During the season, Miller and some of his Bears teammates set up a Zoom meeting with nearly 30 kids from the club. Participating in the call were team receivers and a few coaches.

 The kids got to ask questions at the end of the call. That solidified the bond between Miller and the kids.

Keith Blanchard, president and CEO of the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Memphis, was present for Miller’s return to the club.

He also was there for the presentation of a $15,000 donation to the organization.

 “The donation does a lot, not only financially, but the fact that Anthony comes out and hangs with the kids. They still talk about the zoom call he made to them, Blanchard said.

Miller added, “It is good to give back to the kids in any way that I can. I got the opportunity to hang out with them and that is nice as well.”

On how it felt hanging out with the kids while being a new dad, Miller said, “That makes this mean even more. When I see them, I see my son growing up. How I can positively impact these kids’ lives. I am going to do that.”

With many charities reaching out to him for his support, Miller said it can be hard to decide which one to help. When it came down to it, though, the club was an easy choice.

“It wasn’t hard. I have a good relationship to this place. I am going to come back again soon.  I enjoy the kids and I enjoy this community,” Miller said.

Club director Woods was raised in Memphis and graduated from Central High School, and was a member of the track team at the University of Memphis. 

Recalling how Miller was able to form a bond with club, Woods said, “This club is very close to the University of Memphis. Once a Tiger is always a Tiger and that is how we developed the relationship.”

She said Miller’s support “really meant a lot, especially to the kids; to see someone from that area to go off and to do great things.

“He is still humble and cares about the kids, and wants to spend time with them to put a smile on their face. It really impacts their lives.  We really appreciate that.”

Miller who was a former walk-on, graduated from the U of M as a consensus All-American and the most decorated player in school history. He was drafted by the Chicago Bears in the second round of the 2018 NFL Draft. With the most touchdowns by a Bears’ rookie since 1996, Anthony helped lead the team to a playoff appearance.

Off the field, Miller is passionate about impacting the youth and community in Chicago and his hometown, Memphis. 

On June 27, Anthony welcomed his son, Anthony Miller III.