Tony Bland
Position: Wide Receiver
Former MN Viking
   Tony Bland, a former NFL receiver and bay area native, has nurtured his
football knowledge through a lengthy 16-year playing career. It all began at the
age of 14 when he entered the youth football system, an experience that
inspired him to make football a major part of his life. After one year of youth
football, Tony moved on to Pinellas Park High School where he played varsity as
a sophomore. That experience allowed Tony the ability to let football apply
structure to his life and ultimately discover his path to college.
Over the next two
years Tony dedicated himself to academics, steering clear of the so popular
drop out percentage. He also broke several receiving records and won state
honors all while having fun with the game of football.
By the time his high school
career ended, Tony’s dedication earned him a full scholarship to several
schools. He choose Florida A & M University.
This was quite an
accomplishment considering no one in his immediate family had ever earned
such honor. Tony majored in political science and minored in graphic design
.
Again, dedicating himself to football and its requirements, Tony's on field
accomplishments were noticed and he placed himself among a group of
players that professional scouts watched closely. That earned him a rare and
prestigious opportunity, a free agent try out to a professional team.
The
Minnesota Vikings gave Tony the opportunity to show what he could do. Of
course, he took advantage of the opportunity and earned a roster spot. Over a
four-year stint with the Vikings, Tony got to play and learn from greats like
Warren Moon, Randall Cunningham, Chris Carter, Brad Johnson and Randy
Moss. All of this happened under the leadership of then-Vikings coach Dennis
Green. Now retired, Tony football career has entered a new realm – helping
coach the game to young players. It is something he is familiar with and
passionate about.

“ I have lived this story, day by day. I don't see why every child can’t set
themselves up in this way. I will share my life experiences and lessons to
every child who crosses my path and is willing to except a path to success.

I’ll do whatever I can, to see them through.”  - Bland said.

Tony Bland is president of  a sports camp management company call  
Protential Sports
, this provides a platform for him to reach children, helping
them to visualize a successful path for
themselves through sports. He has also
partnered with organizations such as Pop Warner Football, NFL Flag and was
offensive coordinator for Freedom High School located in the New Tampa area.  

“At this point in my life, I could see how someone would say I've
accomplished great things. Making it to the NFL is thought of as a life time
achievement. But, I feel the
actual life time achievement is helping as many
children as I can to not only see their success path but begin living it.” –
Bland said.