By Nicole Zappone, Record-Journal staff

PLAINVILLE – After a rainy start to the week, Plainville youth were treated to a sunny and breezy day on Saturday, July 1, perfect weather to participate in a football clinic alongside former NFL player Niko Koutouvides.

A Plainville High alum, Class of 1999, Koutouvides holds his annual clinic at PHS’s Alumni Field. This was year No. 13. “The kids had a fantastic time, and the weather was in our favor,” said Koutouvides, 42. “It is always gratifying to give back to the community we grew up in.”

Koutouvides played with the Seattle Seahawks from 2004 to 2007, the Denver Broncos from 2008 to 2009, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers from 2009 to 2011, and the New England Patriots from 2011 to 2013. A linebacker/ special teams stalwart, Koutouvides appeared in two Super Bowls during his career.

Through his clinic, Koutouvides aims to promote the game of football in Plainville. Local players attend at no cost and receive a free clinic T-shirt.

Youth football coach Nick Wartonick said the clinic is a “good kickoff” to the season, which begins Aug. 1.

Koutouvides said the camp pushes “the fundamentals of football,” while providing participants with some conditioning and competition as a new season looms.

The clinic ends with a relay race. “The winning team gets to enjoy a free pair of cleats of their choice at Dick’s Sporting Goods,” Koutouvides said, pointing out that local businesses and the Plainville High School football team are strong supporters of the clinic.

Shelby Lamothe was at Alumni Field to watch her son Nathan Marshall, 10.

“I have a son who graduated from the high school and came through the program,” Lamothe said. “We have been doing this for 13 years now. It’s a great program; the kids learn a lot, like discipline, and it’s really nice.”

Koutouvides was a three-year football starter at PHS, and with him in the lineup, the Blue Devils claimed a conference championship and advanced to the state playoffs. He also played baseball at PHS, and in 1999, the Blue Devils captured the state championship.

Koutouvides was not highly recruited out of high school and opted to attend Milford Academy prep school upon graduating. There, he drew the attention of Purdue University football scouts, who offered him a scholarship.

At Purdue, Koutouvides earned all-conference accolades, and wrapped up his collegiate career with 296 tackles.

The Seahawks drafted Koutouvides in the fourth round of the 2004 NFL Draft. He was just the third player in the franchise’s history to be drafted out of Purdue.