The NFL kicks off its 15th Rookie Symposium on Sunday (June 24), emphasizing the sport's legacy, tradition of character and leadership, as well as social and professional responsibility. The four-day orientation will be held at the Bertram Hotel in Aurora, Ohio and for the first time will feature speakers and a history session at the nearby Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton.
Led by NFL Vice President of Player Engagement TROY VINCENT, the symposium will also introduce a new format to facilitate more effective learning by separating the rookies into smaller groups divided by conference.
"We have reduced the number of draftees simultaneously attending the symposium to create the most favorable learning environment," said Vincent, a five-time Pro Bowler and former NFL Players Association president. "Each rookie should leave the symposium with the knowledge and history of where our game began, where it is today, and challenged to make a positive personal impact on the future of our game. The NFL and its clubs are committed to providing players with the best resources to succeed both on and off the field."
The core teaching principles of the Rookie Symposium are NFL history, experience, player expectations, and professional and social responsibility. The program includes presentations, videos, and workshops focused on these principles as well as other topics, including player health and safety, decision making and maintaining positive relationships.
Guest speakers at the Rookie Symposium (June 24-27 for NFC, June 27-30 for AFC) include current and former players who have experienced a wide-range of success and challenges in their football careers and personal lives.
Participants include MICHAEL VICK (Philadelphia), ADAM JONES (Cincinnati), DEVIN MC COURTY (New England), TERRELL OWENS (free agent), LA VAR ARRINGTON (retired), LUTHER ELLISS (retired), JAMIE DUKES (retired), ANTONIO FREEMAN (retired) and AENEAS WILLIAMS (retired).
Pro Football Hall of Famers MICHAEL IRVIN and CARL ELLER will speak with the rookies at the sessions in Canton. Additional speakers include representatives from the NFL league office and clubs, the NFL Players Association, professionals in specialized fields, and current and former NFL players.
Panel discussion topics include "Transitioning to NFL," "Self Regulation," "Are You Bigger than the Game," "Staying in the Game," Expectations of an NFL Player," and "What Defines Success."
Each player will also participate in a PLAY 60 youth football clinic with children at the Cleveland Browns Training and Administrative complex (NFC rookies Tuesday at 9:30 AM; AFC Rookies Friday at 9:30 AM).