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'I have to play for him': Budda Baker, grieving brother's murder, hosts kids football camp

Budda Baker hosts kids football camp (KOMO Photo)

BELLEVUE, Wash. -- Former UW standout Budda Baker returned to his hometown of Bellevue on Monday and hosted a skills camp for about 60 kids.

The camp, geared to kids 7-14 years old, was held at the Hidden Valley Sports Park in Bellevue.

Along with the Arizona Cardinals safety, Seahawks LB K.J. Wright, Bengals WR John Ross, and Panthers LB Shaq Thompson were also on hand to help coach.

“For kids to see how I am and see how I approach things, I hope will help them approach things later on when they get older,” Baker said.

Less than three months ago, Budda’s brother Robert Baker, 29, was shot and killed outside a Ballard bar.

Budda says his family is leaning on each other during this trying time.

“At the end of the day, life goes on and I have to play for him and my family,” said Baker.

Budda and Robert’s mom, Michelle, said Monday’s camp provided a break to months of grieving.

“I feel his presence," she said. "Especially here to see his little brother keep on the legacy that Robert always wanted.”

In 2017, Budda started seven games for the Arizona Cardinals. He recorded 74 combined tackles, 2 forced fumbles, and one sack for the Cardinals. As a rookie, he was named to the NFL Pro Bowl as a special teams player.

“I feel like people haven’t seen me at my full potential, which I’m excited to show," Baker said. "I’m just very excited for this year to see what I can do on defense."

And he said he’s got a pair of extra eyes encouraging him from above.

“I know he’s going to be able to watch every game now, just be able to make plays.”

The suspect in Robert Baker's murder, Christopher Miles Gates, pleaded not guilty in May to first-degree murder and first-degree illegal possession of a firearm. His next court appearance is Aug. 2.

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