The transition from college to the NFL can be a very challenging one for players, and it can often be a reason why some players never turn out. The league has in recent years put on a Rookie Symposium for draft picks, but this year they expanded that into the Rookie Transition Program.
This program is for all rookies and gives them a chance to further their adjustment to the NFL level, particularly when it comes to dealing with being a professional football player. Owners, general managers, coaches, and directors of player engagement share with rookies during this time to help explain certain aspects of playing for that particular franchise. There are 15 topics that the league mandates be covered during this program, including introduction to the NFL, an explanation of the NFLPA and player benefits, expectations of players (including how to interact with the media), league policies on issues such as DUI, domestic violence, and sexual assault, mental and physical health, franchise introduction and history, and rule changes from the college to pro game, among others.
The Indianapolis Colts held what is presumed to be a part of that program today as they had etiquette training with David Thornton, the Colts’ director of player engagement (and former starting linebacker).
The #Colts are hosting an "etiquette" class for the rookies. Dining, manners, clothing. This should be pretty good. pic.twitter.com/9rbnJ7IMtW— Dave Furst (@DaveFurst) June 20, 2016
David Thornton leading the @Colts rookies in etiquette training today @LucasOil estate #Fancy pic.twitter.com/VoleAvs1Ru— Larra Overton (@LarraOverton) June 20, 2016
#Colts rookies at the Lucas Estate! Awesome learning experience. pic.twitter.com/t7tVItE5jU— David D. Thornton (@DT_50) June 21, 2016
Etiquette training for the rookie class today. pic.twitter.com/hhBN7DhDbB— Indianapolis Colts (@Colts) June 20, 2016
“This collaborative effort permits the league to educate players about the tools and resources available for a successful playing experience on and off the field,” NFL executive vice president of football operations Troy Vincent said of the new rookie program. “The Rookie Transition Program allows the clubs to orient all rookies to local resources and to club culture, history, leadership and expectations.”
It’s a cool venture by the NFL as they look to continue to get rookies more involved and better adjusted to the professional level, and hopefully it will pay dividends for the players. With David Thornton leading the charge for the Colts’ rookie program, it will likely be very beneficial and helpful.