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Urbik lends a hand locally before joining Steeler teammates

Kraig Urbik eyes up a couple of young defenders on the other side of the line of scrimmage while helping the Hudson coaching staff at the ABC Football Camp Thursday at the school. Urbik spent four days at the camp helping coach nearly 240 fourth- through eighth-graders.

Former Hudson High School and University of Wisconsin Badger Kraig Urbik leaves this week for his first NFL summer training camp in Latrobe, Pa.

But before leaving, he helped the Hudson High School coaching staff and players instruct a group of youth in grades 4-8 last week at Hudson's eighth annual ABC Football Camp at the high school's south field.

"I'm close with coaches (Neil) Hatfield, (Ryan) Jamison and (Adam) Kowles, and they asked me so I said I'd be happy to stop by and help out," Urbik said. "The coaches are doing most of the work. I'm just helping out where I can."

Urbik attended every session of the camp, working with fourth- through sixth-graders in the morning and seventh- and eighth-graders in the afternoon. A total of 237 campers attended the four-day camp last Monday through Thursday.

"It's great to have him here," Raider head coach Kowles said. "The kids are very excited."

Urbik, an all-state lineman at Hudson and All-American at Wisconsin, was selected by the defending Super Bowl champion Pittsburgh Steelers in the third round of the NFL draft in April. He said he was excited when he got the call.

"It was pretty crazy," he said. "I didn't really interview or talk to the team. I was sitting in my basement with my family and friends watching the draft and the phone rang and the number that came up was a Pennsylvania number. I was excited. It's a great organization to go to."

Urbik was the 79th overall selection in the draft and signed a three-year deal with the Steelers earlier this month. He played both right guard and right tackle at Wisconsin, but according to reports in the Pittsburgh media is expected to compete at right guard with the Steelers along with starter Darnell Stapleton and backup Trai Essex.

Urbik said he's just focusing on doing his best when the Steelers open camp Friday.

"I'm not really looking at whether I'll be a starter or a backup," he said. "I'm just looking forward to going to camp and working as hard as I can and leaving no regrets. Whatever happens then, I'll be happy with the outcome."

Ironically, Urbik said he never attended a football camp like the one in Hudson when he was a youth.

"When I was this age I lived on the south side of Chicago and played a lot of baseball and basketball," the 6-foot-5, 328 pounder said, adding he moved to Hudson when he was in the sixth grade. "I didn't play football until I was in the eighth grade."

Urbik will attend Steelers training camp at St. Vincent College in Latrobe through Aug. 21. His team will play its first preseason game Thursday, Aug. 13, at home against the Arizona Cardinals in a game that will be televised nationally on ESPN.

The Steelers will play both the Minnesota Vikings and Green Bay Packers in Pittsburgh during the regular season. They host the Vikings Sunday, Oct. 25, and the Packers Sunday, Dec. 20.

Bob Burrows
Bob Burrows has been sports editor at the River Falls Journal since 1996 and at the Hudson Star-Observer since 2009. Prior to joining the Journal, Burrows served as sports editor with Ledger Publications in Balsam Lake, Wis. A native of Bayonne, N.J. and a U.S. Navy veteran, Burrows attended Marquette University before completing his studies at UW-River Falls in 1992.
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