Report to training camp on time
In other words, don't hold out for a better contract that rarely comes because of the slotted pay that rookies receive based on where they were drafted. "I was in camp on time, and that was huge for me," Keller said. "If I would have gotten in there three weeks late, I would have never been playing the whole season. I was struggling with the playbook at the beginning of the season even being there (on time)."
Hang on to your money
Long and Douglas boasted about their frugality. Long, the No. 2 overall pick of the '08 draft, said he has made no major financial investments and has "cheap tastes." Douglas pointed to his large earrings and said, "You think these are real? Ever heard of Claire's in the mall (a store that specializes in inexpensive jewelry)?"
Manage your time
"Once the season starts, you need to really go into a hole for three months, four months," Long said. "Other than your family, you should have people saying, 'Hey, I couldn't get a hold of you for a couple of months.'" Long hired a friend from high school to oversee day-to-day chores such as home repairs and picking up people at the airport. "It's been one of the best investments I made because I don't have to worry about half the stuff I would have if I was flying solo," Long said. "Make sure it's not somebody that's just fun to hang out with, that it's one of your boys that's sharp and trustworthy, because it's going to be hard to trust people on a day-to-day basis."
Have a "no" guy
If you're not very good at saying no to those people who assume that just because you have an NFL contract, you have to pick up every check and buy friends and family tickets to every game, have someone who is. Keller's brother fills that role. Douglas handles it himself most of the time, but he enlists his father for extreme cases.
Know the people around you
"In college, you go out and you're around college friends, people who knew you before you had money," Long said. "Now you go out and you're a target."
Know your opponents
"I know some of you didn't have to watch film in college because you were all that good that you could just dominate whoever it was," Royal said. "But especially all you DBs, watch film, because I'm going to be watching it on you. I'm going to know everything you like to do -- all the moves that worked on you last year, last game. I also recommend you have a notebook for your divisional opponents because you're going to play them twice. Write down all their strengths and weaknesses, and write down new notes after you play them."
Master the playbook
"Not only know every single thing that you've got to do, but what each guy on each side of you is doing," Keller said. "If you do that, then you're going to be able to go out there and play fast and play to your ability and be able to do good things."