On Sunday, the National Football League will conduct it’s 15th Rookie Symposium at the Bertram Hotel in Aurora, Ohio. The 4 day event is mandatory for each rookie class. New players will be taught league history, be educated on the league’s Player Conduct Policy, learn money management skills and attend presentations on professional and social responsibility. Denver Bronco rookies Derek Wolfe, Brock Osweiler, Ronnie Hillman, Omar Bolden, Philip Blake, Malik Jackson and Danny Trevathan will be in attendance.
NFL Vice President of Player Engagement Troy Vincent announced a format change this year.
"We have reduced the number of draftees simultaneously attending the symposium to create the most favorable learning environment," said Vincent, a five-time Pro Bowler and former NFL Players Association president. "Each rookie should leave the symposium with the knowledge and history of where our game began, where it is today, and challenged to make a positive personal impact on the future of our game. The NFL and its clubs are committed to providing players with the best resources to succeed both on and off the field."
The guest speaker list is impressive. Michael Vick, Adam ‘Pac-Man’ Jones, Devin McCourty, Terrell Owens, LaVarr Arrington, Luther Elliss, Mike Caussin, Zak DeOssie, Chris Draft, Jamie Dukes, Jason McCourty, Hardy Nickerson, Antonio Freeman and Aeneas Williams among others.
Vick and Pac-Man can relate first hand what not to do as a young professional who now has an increased income. Who can forget the Dog fighting scandal in Virginia that Michael Vick was incarcerated for in 2007. And Jones has been arrested at least six times during his career and was suspended by the league for the 2007 season and six games in 2008 due to off-field infractions.
Additionally, Hall of Famers Carl Eller and Michael Irvin will speak to the rookies during sessions at the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton. Other speakers will include representatives from the league office as well as the Players association.
Due to the increase in Alcohol-related arrests around the league, MADD will be at the symposium too.
NFL executive Adolpho Birch told Marvez and co-host Jim Miller of SiriusXM NFL Radio that the league has been trying to increase the discipline for drunk driving. "We’re really trying to step up that level of [player] discipline," Birch said, while also confirming PFT’s report that the union has been resisting change. "We think that suspension is important to send the right deterrent effect."
More items on the agenda:
Panel discussion topics include "Transitioning to NFL," "Self Regulation," "Are You Bigger than the Game," "Staying in the Game," Expectations of an NFL Player," and "What Defines Success."
Each player will also participate in a PLAY 60 youth football clinic with children at the Cleveland Browns Training and Administrative complex (NFC rookies Tuesday at 9:30 AM; AFC Rookies Friday at 9:30 AM).
Due to the lockout, there was no rookie symposium in 2011. In the past, any rookie who did not attend (as excused by the Commissioner) was required to make it up the next year. No word has been given as to a make up session for the 2011 class.
Let’s hope the new kids take these lessons to heart. It doesn’t do the NFL any good when players are in the news as bad examples.
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