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NFL rookie symposium begins Sunday in Ohio

The NFL's rookie symposium, which brings together draftees to hear speakers on such subjects as "Are You Bigger Then The Game" and "What Defines Success?", begins Sunday in Aurora, Ohio, with four days of orientation for NFC draft picks. AFC draft choices attend Wednesday through Saturday.

The symposium also includes a side trip to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in nearby Canton.

Scheduled to speak are several players who have experienced serious off-field issues, including Michael Vick, Adam Jones and Michael Irvin. Also on the docket are Terrell Owens, Devin McCourty, Antonio Freeman, LaVar Arrington, Aeneas Williams, NFL Network analyst Jamie Dukes, Luther Ellis and Carl Eller.

Irvin and Eller are Hall of Fame members.

"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," said Troy Vincent, a retired NFL defensive back and former president of the players' union. "The NFL and its clubs are committed to providing players with the best resources to succeed both on and off the field."

The program will includes presentations and speeches, videos and workshops focused on NFL history, experience, player expectations, and professional and social responsibility. Other topics included player health and safety, decision making and maintaining positive relationships.

"Athletes are not immune to what takes place in society. They are not exempt to societal issues," Vincent said.

"We do have things in place to help deal with any issues, and we are very proactive in doing so. You have to retrain them or develop a new culture of thinking, and it starts with young men and ladies as they are maturing. This is a challenge not just as a sports organization, but as parents, as mentors and teachers. We welcome that challenge and charge as a league, and hope to become part of a greater conversation, be part of the continuing campaigns to raise awareness of these issues and problems that can come up."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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