During the NFL’s Rookie Symposium, there are a variety of speakers addressing the new class of players on a variety of topics.
The ones that get the most attention are the ones like cornerback Adam Jones and former Bears defensive lineman Tank Johnson, players who have screwed up off the field and share their stories in hopes of keeping other players from making the same kinds of mistakes. Those speeches are meant for every player in the room, obviously, but the message was particularly resonant for Cardinals cornerback Tyrann Mathieu.
The erstwhile (and, perhaps, once more) Honey Badger was kicked off the LSU team after failed drug tests and he knows that he’s going to get little to no leeway from the Cardinals or anyone else if he continues to find trouble away from the game. Mathieu says that’s why he was listening closely even though he’d heard similar messages in the past.
“I didn’t look at it redundant, I looked at it as more people trying to help me. My process is a bit different than the rest of the rookies there. For me, it was an experience I needed,” Mathieu said, via the team’s website. “For me, [the Symposium] was real educational, inspiring and one of those reality checks and I’ve had a few of those since I’ve become an Arizona Cardinal.”
Staying clean and out of legal hot water doesn’t qualify as a success since it is the bare minimum expected of any player. Not doing it, however, would be a massive blown opportunity and the annual meeting of rookies has rightly been focused on hammering that point home to players who haven’t accomplished anything as professionals.