June 11, 2009 at 2:17 pm

Terry Foster

Antonio Gates back in Detroit to share his success story

Antonio Gates admits he made mistakes growing up, but now that he has turned his life around, he wants to share his stories with kids. (Getty Images)

Antonio Gates admits he made his share of mistakes growing up.

He said he was involved in drugs, performed poorly in school, got kicked out of school and was involved in his share of fights. Now, he's one of Detroit's success stories as an all-pro tight end for the San Diego Chargers.

And his rags-to-riches story is sure to resonate with the nearly 400 youth football players who will participate in the second annual Sound Mind, Sound Body camp that runs through Saturday at Wayne State.

"Whenever I go out there on Sundays, a little bit of Detroit remains with me," Gates said during a telephone interview from San Diego. "I think of my brother and sisters. I think of what I went through to get to where I am, and I am very appreciative of everything."

The camp is expected to attract some top speakers, including Lions linebacker Larry Foote (Detroit Pershing, Michigan) and Michigan coach Rich Rodriguez.

And of course, Gates, who says it's important the kids hear his story and realize he walked a similar path they're on right now.

"I think it means more hearing it from me as opposed to someone who grew up in the suburbs and really didn't have any trauma in their lives," Gates said. "I mean, I went through what a lot of these kids are going through now. It was rough. So I think it means a lot hearing that story from me."

Mr. Consistency

We always hear stories about certain teams and players "showing up" for games. Well, Warren's Ryan Gatto always "showed up."

Gatto recently graduated from Warren Cousino High without missing a day of class in 13 years -- that's kindergarten through 12th grade. He carried a 3.8 grade-point average and played football and baseball at Cousino.

So, when you talk about athletes showing up, think of Gatto.

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