The NFL Rookie Symposium kicked off Sunday as AFC players arrived in the Cleveland area for a series of presentations, guest speakers, panels and workshops in an effort to prepare the young men for entry into their new profession.
One of the main jobs of the symposium is to be upfront with the players about life and their futures in the NFL, senior vice president of player engagement Troy Vincent recently told The Associated Press.
"We are not here to be dream killers," Vincent said. "We have to be realistic, though, and you are now on the clock. So, of the drafted rookies, less than half will still be around three years from now. That doesn't mean life stops; it better not. While we are introducing them to the NFL, we're also talking about life after football. ...There are life lessons that need to be learned right from the beginning."
It sounds harsh, but it's a reality that NFL players need to come to grips with quickly. The symposium's goal is to help new players with everything from money management to general life lessons -- things every 21-year-old could use counseling on.
The league's 16th annual rookie symposium will revolve around four core teaching principles: NFL history, total wellness, experience and professionalism. Guest speakers will include a wide range of former and current players with vastly different experiences, from bad boys Adam 'Pacman' Jones and Terry "Tank" Johnson to men with impeccable records such as Brian Dawkins and Chad Pennington.
The weeklong symposium for all 254 players drafted in 2013 is scheduled to run from June 23 to 26 for AFC rookies and June 26 to 29 for NFC rookies.