NFL wants to make Ohio Rookie Symposium’s home


There are more glamorous vacation destinations, but at least one league official wants to make Northeast Ohio the summer home for NFL rookies.

For the second straight year, the league will hold its Rookie Symposium at the Bertram Inn and Conference Center in Aurora, Ohio, allowing for side trips to the Pro Football Hall of Fame and the Browns facility.

We hope that’s our home,” senior vice president of player engagement Troy Vincent told Nate Ulrich of the Akron Beacon Journal. “That’s my plan. That’s why when the commissioner [Roger Goodell] asked that we consider it, just looking logistically where it was in the middle of the country, it just made sense.

“And frankly, we can’t teach enough of our history. You’re going to get that [in Northeast Ohio]. That’s the one element [you won’t find elsewhere]. I’m not getting that in South Florida. I’m not getting that in San Diego. I felt football.”

The league has held 15 of the orientation events, which include instructing rookies on everything from life skills to league policies. They’ve also divided the event into AFC and NFC sessions, to give speakers more of an opportunity to connect with players rather than trying to talk at 300 at a time.

But the trip to the Hall of Fame and the location made it easier to get the attention of the rookies, Vincent said. And even though he’s a Wisconsin man, he thought the Big 10 atmosphere was better for reaching young players.

“Last year, quite frankly, we had a good time,” Vincent said. “We felt like it was the changing of the traditional way of having the symposium of where it was located and bringing it back to what we call the ‘hometown of football.’ Being affiliated with the Hall of Fame, that was very important, bringing an element of history back.

“[It’s] not just the Hall of Fame, but with the Browns and being able to connect back to that community. Hey, I’m in football country. I’m not saying that West Palm Beach is not, but when I’m pulling up into Cleveland, I’m thinking about ‘Buckeye Nation.’ ”

Of course, getting players to think about things like fiscal responsibility and personal conduct are still the main points. But that’s easier to sell when they’re secluded from palm trees and beaches (and all the other things they’re trying to warn the newcomers about).

16 responses to “NFL wants to make Ohio Rookie Symposium’s home

  1. Even if that is his plans it is foolish to say so. He just lost all ability to negotiate with the venue’s in Ohio. If you think that is not important ask yourself why you pay $10 a beer at a game.

    No competition.

  2. This makes a lot of sense. I recall when I first heard of the rookie symposium it was in Miami, an interesting place to pick to teach 21 year old millionaires to stay out of trouble.

  3. The Bertram in Aurora is a very classy location and a great spot. You are close to Cleveland and 40 min away from the HOF. Let’s face it we arent’ talking about winter in Ohio. It’s the summer and the weather is just fine.

  4. I’ve always wondered, with all these titles floating around in organizations, what does a “senior vice president of player engagement,” do for 8 hours a day, 5 days a week?

  5. Parts of OH is a great place to teach the importance of saving money for post-football career – scare tactics. Also covers the dangers of poor dental hygiene.

  6. They make them go to the Browns facility? Why? So they can get the experience of a staph infection?

  7. Parts of Northeast Ohio are quite nice from late April to early October. Unfortunately, most of the time I’ve spent there has been during the rest of the year, or in never-nice parts like Youngstown.

    crownof thehelmet–Poor dental hygiene? It’s nowhere near Kentucky or West Virginia.

  8. It snowed here yesterday..pretty far cry from Miami 😀

    Aurora is a nice suburb and no there really isn’t anything there they can do for trouble unless they are really looking.

    I do love that the league is making sure the players get a dose of NFL history. If it reaches just a handful of guys who knew the past greats only through video games, it’s worth it to me.

  9. I’ve been to the Bertram. Kind of an odd place, closely located to nothing in particular, with decor strongly reminiscent of the 1990s, with added fashion flair inspired Mrs. Bert Wolstein’s interest in wild cats.

  10. Aurora…..rookies could get into trouble out there. Ya know carjacking Amish buggies and stuff. I think Aurora is amish country. I used to live in Geagua county and Amish were all over in Middlefield, Parkman, and Burton. But that was over 20 years ago.

  11. Hmm, I drive past that place a few times a week and while its certainly nice, I don’t know if its ‘NFL nice’ and is quite a ways from the HoF. The closest freeway is 5 miles away and in the opposite direction.

    Someone returning a favor possibly?

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