Falcons University Preps Rookies for Life in the NFL
By Greg Huseth
After this past weekend’s Rookie Mini-camp during which Peter Konz, Travian Robertson, Bradie Ewing and Charles Mitchell all signed their rookie contracts, and three tryout players were signed, the Falcons 2012 Rookie Class will undergo a rookie orientation today, something the Falcons call ‘Falcons U’.
The point of the event is similar to the NFL’s rookie symposium. It is designed to impress upon the rookies the importance of being humble, adjusting to life in the NFL, and emphasize the values of the individual franchise. The Falcons invite a number of speakers within the organization and from other places to speak to the rookies. Arthur Blank, Thomas Dimitroff, and several others will speak to the rookies and field questions they may have about any life or on the field adjustments they will have to make.
The great thing about this event is that its primary focus is on off-field life. Obviously as fans we are looking out for the bottom line, which for the fans comes in the form of wins. There were a couple items such as Mr. Blank saying that “every rookie has told me the season is longer, and the game is faster.” There has also been items mentioned such as that the Falcons expect a 100% commitment during the Monday-Saturday period of the week and not simply on Sundays. But there have been other things mentioned. Seizing every opportunity, not settling for playing backup, working your hardest, putting the team before yourself.
The Falcons are also doing their part to help the players make the adjustment easy. Mr. Blank mentioned three things that were truly striking. First, every person needs to have balance in their lives, that it is important to spend time with your family, on religion, and being the best person you can be. Secondly, the Falcons organization made themselves available. Mr. Blank’s words were that “We care about you as more than just football players. We will do everything we know how to do to help you.” The third thing he mentioned was that without the fans, the NFL would simply be teams of 11 guys going out and playing Sandlot football. He emphasized that each player remember this when asked for autographs or when interacting with fans.
I think this effort made by the Falcons to be there in every capacity for each player is excellent. The Falcons clearly are asking for quality people and quality family men for their organization; I think that is only right. The realization that the players must do everything they can to help the team is obvious, but the team also must do everything they can to make help the player. Also emphasizing the importance of the fan for the team is crucial. It is something that all Falcons fans should take pride in: we have a team that really appreciates us and is doing everything to make our experience better for us. The Atlanta Falcons care about the people who are playing the game, and they care greatly for the fan that consumes their product.