AFC rookies take lessons to heart

BEREA, Ohio -- The AFC's first-year players completed the 2014 NFL Rookie Symposium with Friday morning's Play 60 youth football camp at the Cleveland Browns' training facility in Berea.

And while it was hard to tell who had more fun, the children participating in the camp or the rookies leading it, the players took to heart the messages they heard earlier in the week.

"We've had a lot of great speakers, and they just give us a lot of insight about a lot of things we're probably going to run into our first year," Broncos cornerback Bradley Roby said. "Cris Carter talked to us. Chris Herren came and gave his story. Warrick Dunn and a lot of guys came and gave us good information and are helping us transition to the NFL."

Herren speaks at events like the rookie symposium in order to help prevent young athletes from going down the roads he did as a basketball player for Boston College, the Boston Celtics and overseas.

After committing multiple felony drug offenses for more than a decade, Herren got clean and has remained free of both drugs and alcohol since 2008.

"It's very smart for you to pay attention," Roby said. "They're only coming back for our own good. They're not getting paid for this. They want to help us, and I think we should take heed of what they're talking about.

"Chris Herren gave us a story yesterday about how he didn't pay attention when the drug addiction people came and talked, and then, he told his story about all the things that happened to him because he wasn't paying attention. I think that's a classic example of what we should be paying attention to."

Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel added, "(Chris Herren's) a guy that I got to here talk a couple times, who's really incredible. These breakout groups that we're doing (are about) just knowing what you're getting into because we are rookies and we haven't been through this before. They have past players come back and say what they would've wanted to go through, what they would've wanted to hear here."

Jacksonville quarterback Blake Bortles found particular value in the speakers from last year's rookie class.

"Something that was really good was we got to hear from a panel of guys, Matt Elam, Luke Wilson, the tight end from Seattle," Bortles said. "Something that was good to hear was they were in our seats a year before.

"Luke said, 'I was sitting here, not really paying attention, and I was kind of like, Yeah, I'll never be that guy, and I watched everything happen to me that we talked about at the Symposium.' It's key and vital to pay attention to it because it really does happen."

Browns cornerback Justin Gilbert added, "They've just been feeding us pretty good info that we could use later on down the road, maybe not right now, but sometime down the road, things to look out for and what to expect going into our rookie seasons."


To find out more about Facebook commenting please read the
Conversation Guidelines and FAQs

Leave a Comment