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Cancellation of symposium not a big loss for rookies

It's hard to place a true value on the NFL Rookie Symposium.

One could actually argue that there is greater benefit to player-run lockout workouts that are getting mixed reviews, at best. At least the participants are volunteering to be part of those.

The symposium is mandatory for draft picks; failure to attend results in a fine. And for the most part, the picks have always treated it as a necessary evil -- show up, try to stay awake while listening to endless cautionary tales and other life-skills advice, and count the seconds until they go home.

That's why the cancellation of this year's symposium, which was scheduled for next month in Canton, Ohio, doesn't seem like that big of a loss.

Sure, it's a great idea to gather players as they enter the league and show them -- through a series of power-point presentations, skits, and speeches by current and former players -- the many potential dangers lurking for young men who have just received a major infusion of money and fame.

For those who pay attention, there is a wealth of information about ways that trouble can instantly find them, from driving while intoxicated to domestic violence to financial mismanagement to identity theft.

The problem is, there always are a fair number of rookies who make it clear they would much rather be somewhere other than the alternate resort locations, in California or Florida, where the league had traditionally staged the symposium before this year. You see plenty of them falling asleep and staring into space.

Worst of all, you see players who have sat through three days of lectures still making the type of headlines for bad behavior off the field that the symposium is supposed to help them avoid.

In covering numerous symposiums, I have always come away feeling that the players most engaged with all that the event had to offer were usually the ones who needed it the least. They got it.

And if you're a rookie who doesn't get it, the symposium is unlikely to change that.

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