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Rookies get four-day course on life in the NFL

Discussion in 'Chargers Fan Forum' started by Johnny Lightning, Jun 28, 2010.

  1. Johnny Lightning

    Johnny Lightning Go Bolts

    Feb 7, 2006
    Just say no

    By Christopher Smith, Chargers.com

    NFL rookies get four-day course on life in the NFL at Carlsbad symposium.

    SAN DIEGO – Jonathan Crompton[​IMG] gave Donald Butler[​IMG] a playful mug.
    “No! No! You’ve got to say no!” Butler protested, faking desperation.
    “I didn’t even ask anything!” Crompton laughed.
    It’s a message all of the NFL’s rookies are hearing often at the four-day rookie symposium in Carlsbad this week. The 14th annual symposium, held at La Costa Hotel and Conference Center and hosted by the league and the Players Association, helps guide players through the off-field issues they’ll face as celebrated athletes.
    It includes talks on fiscal responsibility, substance abuse and time management, but a common thread surfaced by Monday.
    “If you want to be here a long time, you’ve got to learn to say no,” Cam Thomas[​IMG] said. “You’ve got to think about yourself in the long run. You don’t owe (anybody but God anything).”
    With four 16-hour days of meetings, the players need something to keep their attention. For Darrell Stuckey[​IMG], it’s the scripted skits designed to show rookies ways they can handle potentially negative situations.
    During one such scenario, a player’s friend came in town to watch the game and wanted to go out and drink, but didn’t want to get caught in a cab and asked the player to drive. The friend kept pressuring the player to push his boundaries further until the player gave him money for a cab home and left.
    Thomas thought the actor that portrayed the player was too polite.
    “I wouldn’t have been so nice about it. I’d be like, ‘No. Don’t bug me about it,’” he said. “If I say no the first time, you stick with no. That’s what my mamma always told me. If I say no, I mean no. No ifs, ands or buts about it.”
    All but a handful of the 255 NFL rookies attended. Those that missed had medical excuses. They took a break Monday to promote the league’s Play 60 campaign designed to promote an active lifestyle, spending time with children from Camp Pendleton with interactive games from the NFL Experience.
    The kids wore T-shirts that read, ‘Future NFL Draft pick.’
    The players were available to the media during that time. Ryan Mathews[​IMG] was the most popular interview as a healthy contingent of San Diego media rivaled the national journalists on hand. He answered questions for more than 30 minutes.

    “It’s good to go out and have fun every now and then, but all in all, you’ve got to represent that NFL shield,” Mathews said. “That’s what we’re working for right now.”
    Butler recognized the amount of pressure and responsibility on him and his peers as “huge.”
    “We get some of the veteran guys out here to talk to us, different doctors and people who really care about our well-being and want us to understand that this isn’t going to last forever and hopefully give us some information that’s going to better us after we play,” Butler said. “As a rookie you can’t help but like that. It gets a little tedious, but you take it all in and take pointers that you can use to better yourself.”
    Most of the presentations and topics were not new to the Chargers, Stuckey said. Director of Player Development Arthur Hightower, the man Stuckey affectionately referred to as “dad,” made sure of that in the months since the players were drafted and signed.
    “That confirms that we’re a great group with the San Diego Chargers and that Arthur really cares about us and is really trying to inform us to be better men,” Stuckey said. “As Mr. (Roger) Goodell said earlier this week, one of the greatest things is realizing that we’re out here for one purpose, that’s to become better men in this community.”
  2. Aggieman

    Aggieman I bleed blue and gold

    Aug 14, 2008
    Cam Thomas - Chargers conscience.

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