NFL deserves credit for helping players plus 10 Things I Think
It's quite an honor to fill in for the legendary Peter King. I'm thrilled to have the opportunity and want to use it to shine a positive light on some of the NFL's initiatives, since I don't think the league and the players get enough credit for what they do off the field. Too often we hear about the negative things --
There are many so-called experts who say the NFL isn't standing behind its players, but nothing could be further from the truth. The league is doing a lot more listening these days. Under commissioner
The NFL and the NFLPA are providing opportunities for players to gain the knowledge and the training that are the foundation of a post-football career. The Rookie Symposium, which has been an annual program for first-year players since the early 1990s, teaches players how to handle and protect their finances, stay out of trouble and be aware there are always consequences to their actions. I'm confident this program has saved more than a few careers. Mandatory for all drafted players, it's the most proactive program run by any of the professional sports leagues.
Another example is the Business Management and Entrepreneurial Seminar run by top-notch institutions such as Harvard's Business School, the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, Stanford's Graduate School of Business and the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. I've had the chance to attend three of these classes, and the benefits have been invaluable. I've learned, in part, how to apply different business principles, run a company efficiently, and most important, how to leverage the unique opportunities I've been afforded as a professional player to put myself in the best possible position for my future after football. None of us want to think of that day, but the NFL is giving us the chance to shadow some really smart and accomplished people who we can call upon with questions or concerns about starting our own ventures.
Last month's NFL Player Development Broadcast Boot Camp was another prime example of a one-of-a-kind opportunity provided by the NFL to players who think they might want to pursue a career as a sports announcer or analyst. These are exceptional programs for guys who are interested in continuing their education to learn from the best about what they've always wanted to do.
These are all invaluable experiences that many players are taking advantage of on a regular basis. If the NFL got even a fraction of the attention for these initiatives as it gets for the bad news, the sport would be elevated to an even higher level -- one it rightly deserves.
1. I think I'm all for tougher sanctions on players who misbehave and tarnish the reputations of the NFL, their team, teammates and the game as a whole. Goodell should hold those who make poor decisions accountable for their actions.
2. I think NFLPA executive director
3. I think, on the subject of benefits for retired players, which fellow trenchman
4. I think the NFL Broadcast Boot Camp I attended in early June gave me a much better understanding of how the sports-television business works, especially the prep work that goes into each pre-game show and football broadcast. It's not unlike getting a game plan ready, as there were a lot of little details -- makeup, wardrobe, diction and delivery -- that I hadn't given much thought to. Many thanks to
5. I think, as always, I'm excited for the start of the 2009 season. With all the Patriots' moves in the offseason, we'll definitely have a new look and way of doing things -- but I'm confident we have what it takes to be a good football team. Fortunately, from what I've heard, we will have plenty of full-speed reps in training camp to get ready!
6. I think that training camp should be illegal.
7. I think the world thinks seeing husky offensive lineman wearing skin-tight white Spandex and dancing with lizards
8. I think
9. I think these are my charity-related thoughts of the week:
a. I'm really excited about this week's opening of the Light Foundation's new Outdoor Leadership Camp -- Vohokase Camp at Chenoweth Trails in Greenville, Ohio. We'll be taking 12 kids from across the country and teaching them life lessons. Our goal is to instill the values of responsibility, accountability and hard work by providing them with unique outdoor learning experiences that helps them reach their highest potential. We've planned everything from career educational tours and community service projects, to ropes courses and trail-based activities for them to enjoy. I started this non-profit eight years ago because I truly believe these opportunities are sorely lacking in many young people's lives.
b. Our Foundation's signature fundraiser, the "Matt Light Celebrity Shoot-Out," will be at its best this year. The day-long clay shooting tournament hosts 64 teams that include anyone who's interested in the sport: former and current football players, and celebrities such as
10. I think Peter King has a very tough job. After several drafts and the threat of carpal-tunnel syndrome, I have a newfound respect for journalists everywhere. It's been fun, and I appreciate the opportunity to be a Monday Morning Quarterback once in my career.