Former NFL player Ray McElroy visits Janesville middle school students

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JANESVILLE, Wis. (WMTV) -- A former NFL player paid a visit to students at Edison Middle School Thursday.

Ray McElroy spent six seasons in the NFL, playing for the Indianapolis Colts, Detroit Lions, and Chicago Bears. Now off the field, he’s sharing inspiration with youth through his foundation, Ray of Hope.

Thursday’s visit to Janesville was focused on teaching students about the power of choice. “I know as a professional athlete I have influence and because of that platform I've been blessed with, it’s an opportunity to pour into the next generation," said McElroy.

The former pro-baller spoke to students about making the right choices when it comes to bullying, drugs, and alcohol. Part of his presentation included asking students to raise their hands if they knew of any sixth and seventh graders currently using alcohol. The majority of the auditorium raised their hands.

McElroy says it was important for him to make this visit to get those numbers down. He says he loves young people and wants to inspire them to be the best they can be. "I just want them to know that even when life knocks them down, they still got a choice they can make so I'm hopeful that they will remember those lessons," he said.

The visit was thanks to Edison Assistant Principal, Nick Jones. “I happen to know Ray through my church and I’m like ‘Ray why don’t you come talk to our kids’,” said Jones. He says he wants his students to know they have the power to make choices in their lives that will get them where they want to go.

McElroy says he encourages other athletes to use their platform to inspire youth just as he hopes to continue to do through his foundation.