The NFL’s Rookie Symposium has always been a worthwhile program.
But officials are hoping that by having less of it, it will gain value.
Instead of dragging more than 250 drafted rookies to a single spot, the league divided the group in half, and placed it in a hotel in a small Ohio town to reduce distractions. They’ve also pared down the curriculum, removing a section on financial literacy, and pouring that into a 12-week “rookie success program,” which is held by each team.
Former Eagles wide receiver and current director of player development Harold Carmichael said veterans were beginning to warn rookies what a drag the event was becoming, saying: “Oh, the rookie symposium. It is so long.”
“You’d have a jam-packed agenda with about 300 men you’re trying to educate and move around with 18 or 19 different subjects,” NFL vice president of player engagement Troy Vincent told Alex Marvez and Jim Miller on SiriusXM NFL Radio (via FOXSports.com). “You’d really walk away with nothing because it’s clouded. There are a lot of things going through your mind.”
The league’s still leaning hard on the behavioral aspect, which is why players such as Adam “Pacman” Jones and Michael Vick were there to offer cautionary tales.
“Adam talked about doing things that, he used the term, were just stupid,” Vincent said. “He was asking and challenging the audience not to make the same mistakes. Many of the guys he hung around were from his neighborhood or same school.
“I couldn’t have scripted it any better. It was real.”
And maybe because there’s less of it, there’s a better chance more of it will sink in.