The incoming rookie draft class of 2011 is getting a lot of advice this offseason, including important football and life lessons from veterans.
The lineup they are hearing from includes some all time greats – former NFL player and coach Herm Edwards, former coach Joe Gibbs and former Super Bowl MVP Desmond Howard. NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell made an appearance together to address the rookies, and Plaxico Burress, recently released from prison, spoke about his experiences and the difficult lessons he has learned.
ProPlayerInsiders had the opportunity to speak with the rookies while they worked out at IMG Academies as part of the NFLPA sponsored symposium “The Business of Football: Rookie Edition” in Sarasota, Florida.
Asked what the most important lessons they’ve learned this offseason, the most common answer was to manage their finances carefully and save money. For NFL athletes, the average career is only about three years, so while they have the opportunity to make very high salaries, their life after football is much longer than their professional football career.
First contracts, particularly for early draft picks, can be significant – last year’s number one overall pick Sam Bradford signed a six year, $78 million deal with St. Louis. The NFL lockout has prevented these players from negotiating or signing with the teams that drafted them, but it has also given them the opportunity to get some good financial advice before that first check arrives.
For young men barely out of college, this advice could be the most important lesson of their lives.