The NFL announced Tuesday the Rookie Transition Program, a new rookie onboarding platform hosted by each of the league's 32 clubs, expanded to all NFL rookies -- both drafted and undrafted -- and designed to provide the resources for a successful transition to the NFL.
The program replaces the centrally located Rookie Symposium that was open only to drafted rookies.
"Our goal is to onboard every NFL rookie with the best resources and practices for a successful playing experience both on and off the field," said NFL Vice President of Player Engagement Charles Way. "By shifting the model to the clubs from a centrally located program exclusive to drafted rookies, we can reach all of our rookies, introduce them to resources in their community, and afford them the experience from active and former players at their club who successfully transitioned into the NFL."
The new format gives clubs the opportunity to customize the orientation program to align with the history and culture of their team, including the use of former players to foster and promote mentoring relationships between incoming rookies and club legends.
In collaboration with each club, the NFL Player Engagement staff will ensure uniformity in the orientation by approving the schedule for each program, which will take place from June 20-22 for NFC rookies and June 22-24 for AFC rookies.
Mandatory topics will include social responsibility, respect at work, mental health, character and values, and player engagement resources. Teams will cover other key topics either as part of the three-day program or prior to it, including player health and safety, a review of player policies and resources, working with the news media in the age of social media, financial education, and playing rule changes from college to the pros.
"This new orientation program is a win-win because it allows us to give every rookie the benefit of resources from the league that will contribute to success both on and off the field," said Miami Dolphins Director of Player Engagement Kaleb Thornhill. "It also brings onboarding home to our club's heritage and culture, and the resources and relationships available in our community."
"The ability to expose our entire rookie class, regardless of whether you were drafted or not, to this program will increase the chances of a smooth and successful entry into the NFL," said Green Bay Packers Director of Player Engagement Rob Davis. "To introduce the rookies in such a profound way to some of our former players that can serve as mentors and role models is an exciting concept."