AFC draftees learn NFL history

The 2012 National Football League Rookie Symposium wrapped up at the Pro Football Hall of Fame on Saturday. Nearly 150 rookies drafted by AFC teams, including the draft’s first overall pick Andrew Luck of the Indianapolis Colts, received a history lesson during the three-hour visit to the Hall of Fame.

The core teaching principles of the symposium are NFL history, experience, player expectations, and professional and social responsibility. The four-day orientation, most of which was held in nearby Aurora, Ohio, concluded with this morning’s visit to the Hall of Fame. The symposium included presentations, videos, and workshops focused on these important principles as well as other topics, including player health and safety, decision making and maintaining positive relationships.

Just left the @NFL @ProFootballHOF. A cool and very informative experience. It would be awesome to start and finish a career there! – Tight end Coby Fleener, the Colts' second-round pick, 34th overall, out of Stanford.

Leaving the @nfl @ProFootballHOF with a lot more knowledge, motivation and determination!! Can't wait for this 2012 season to start! – New England Patriots first-round draft pick DE Chandler Jones out of Syracuse.

The rookies were greeted by President/Executive Director Steve Perry before being led on guided tours through the museum. The AFC draftees learned about the start of the pro game in 1892, the first African-American pro football player in 1902, through current day milestones established by their soon to be peers like Drew Brees, Terrell Suggs, Tim Tebow, and Randall Cobb.

Among the most popular stop on the tour was the Hall of Fame Gallery. Players took photos of the bronze busts, engaged with staff who shared stories about the football legends, and used interactive kiosks to learn more about the 273 members of the Hall of Fame.

One of those Hall of Famers, Carl Eller, closed out the symposium with a stirring presentation. The former Minnesota Vikings defensive end and integral component of the vaunted “Purple People Eaters,” explained what it takes to earn a Hall of Fame Gold Jacket.

 “When you leave here today, I want you to know that you are part of this family and this is a day and this is a weekend or time that you’re going to remember the rest of your lives,” Eller stated. “I want you to leave here with no regrets. When you leave here go back to your homes and your hometowns and to your teams dedicated to being the best that you can be. Challenge yourselves to be great. Challenge these men that are before you that you can do it better. That’s what it’s about.  And, I don’t know if you can do it much better than I did it, but that’s the challenge to you.”

He proceeded to share advice to the young players on the need to take advantage of what they learned during the symposium to help them in life after football.

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