Before he was the NFL’s director of football operations, Troy Vincent was an NFL defensive back. Which may give him more credibility than some other league officials when he embarks on his next mission: Visiting players who have been suspended for on-field incidents to discuss with them what they need to do differently.
Vincent told the Associated Press that he will travel to multiple NFL cities to meet with players who have been suspended and educate them about what they need to change.
“It’s all about educating,” Vincent said. “The devil is in the details. When I am making the rounds with the suspended players, I want to make sure we are educating them to keep them on the field. What were they seeing on the plays [that led to suspensions]? Are they seeing what they are supposed to? Do they completely understand the rules? It’s about taking the guessing out.”
Vincent wouldn’t say specifically which players he’s planning to meet. Players who have been suspended for on-field misconduct include Texans defensive end Antonio Smith, Titans safety Michael Griffin, Buccaneers safety Dashon Goldson, Redskins safety Brandon Meriweather, Colts linebacker Erik Walden and Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh.
Vincent believes players will listen to him because he understands where they’re coming from.
“I have that insight from being on the field, from being in their shoes,” Vincent says. “My message to these players is, ‘We want to keep you on the field. We want to keep you safe.’ Rules to protect the players are essential.”
Those rules haven’t always been popular with the players they are ostensibly designed to protect. Vincent’s job is changing players’ perceptions.