Reporter: Lauren Compton | Videographer: Steven Smith
Lynchburg, VA - Lynchburg native and NFL star Chris Cook has had his fair share of legal missteps, but he says all of that is behind him.
He now wants to use his fame to help kids in the Hill City. For the past few weeks, Cook has been reaching out to students, emceeing events and giving inspirational speeches.
As a cornerback with the Minnesota Vikings, Cook hoped to stack up tackles on the field like he did at UVA. But lately it's the bumps he's made off the field that have attracted the spotlight.
In 2011, he was arrested in Lynchburg and charged with pointing a firearm at his neighbor and then for felony domestic assault against his girlfriend. He was found not guilty on both charges, but admits he was not always a model citizen
"I feel like I wasn't taking full advantage of being blessed with the opportunity and the blessing that I have placed in front of me being able to play football," said Cook.
Now with a new look and new focus, Cook is on a new mission reaching out to kids.
"Just so they can see my face, hear my voice and know they can be anything they want. I think the kids around this area need to know that," he said.
Since he's been back in the Hill City, he's been on a string of school visits, talking and playing. He says it's hopefully inspiring.
"I just want to be a big impact to some of these kids and maybe change their futures. Or change their lives around so they know they can do whatever they want. If they want to be an astronaut they can be an astronaut. If they want to be a vet, they can be a vet," he said.
Cook is heading back to Minnesota Thursday to help a group of troubled boys there. Next season he says his only goal is to play the entire season. Injuries and trouble with the law have kept him off the field for most of his career with the Vikings.