Whether it’s the Detroit Lions following a winless season or the
defending Super Bowl champion Pittsburgh Steelers, the annual rite of
passage for rookies tends to follow a familiar script.
A talented rookie enters the NFL with a fair amount of confidence and swagger.
And, during the process of transitioning to the NFL during
minicamps, that self-belief is tested severely once the rookie
witnesses the ability of the established veterans.
That scenario unfolded again recently on the Lions’ practice field, according to Carlos Monarrez of the Detroit Free Press, as rookie sixth-round running back Aaron Brown tried to beat linebacker Ernie Sims around the corner.
“I had broke to the right,” Brown said. “I promise you, I saw broad
daylight and my vision was running straight. As soon as I turned, Ernie
ran right through me. He didn’t tackle me, but he would have made a
tackle and I didn’t see it coming. And it probably would have hurt. . .
“They are so fast. It’s just they are smarter and they know the
game. And they’ve seen players from every sort of kind of players. So,
they already expect what you think you can’t get them with. You
can’t. So, you have to up their game because their game is already
elevated. . . . I have to raise my game just as well.”
Brown sounds like a rookie who knows he doesn’t know everything, and
that bit of invaluable introspection is half the battle toward figuring
out how to play at the next level.