It's a serious business being a rookie in the NFL. Your teammates expect a lot from you. Your coaches expect even more. And hopefully you expect the most from yourself.
When I was a rookie in 2003, I was not only making the transition from college to the NFL, but also being asked to make the move from safety to cornerback. It took time for me to get comfortable, and realistically, it wasn't until my third season that I began to feel at home.
Players often get a bad rap during their first or second year if they struggle with this transition, especially if they are high draft picks. I think it's important to look at a young player's work ethic, his football intelligence, and his desire to become great. Even if a player gets off to a slow start, it is those traits that will allow him to eventually become successful in his career.
So for all you rookies out there, here are a few tips of advice to help give you a smoother transition into the league:
Finally, I leave you with this piece of advice. Don't be afraid of the moment, because it doesn't last forever.
"I'll definitely be back in 2010. ... Oh, I thought for a second this interview was about me."
"Sorry, I'm getting a little emotional. We work hard in this game and sometimes things don't go your way. I love this game, I love this team, I love this guy [Kobe] and I love what I do. Nothing means more to me than helping my team win."
"It's not where you start, it's where you finish."
"Looking forward to getting my PAC-10 championship ring from the '04 season. Thanks
I was on a flight from Los Angeles to the Bay Area the other day and I was carrying two magazines, a book, an iPod, a pen and a couple sheets of writing paper. I'm clearly planning on being busy, or at least looking busy. Two big time football fans come up to my seat in mid-flight and start asking for an autograph. In an attempt to defuse the commotion that began, I quickly signed and got back to looking busy.
The flight attendant then runs up to my seat and she says, "I'm so sorry that this happened. I wish you didn't have to deal with that. It is so rude. I mean, people can't just let you relax. I just don't get it. Let me know if you need anything."
So I tell her that everything is fine and she shouldn't worry about it, but it was interesting to hear her get so upset about what happened.
No more than 10 seconds later, she whips out her camera phone and says, "...and do you mind if I take a picture of you so I can show my Facebook friends?" Before I could even adjust to her shift in feelings ... BRIGHT FLASH! PICTURE TAKEN!
Hmmm. Not so enjoyable.
1. I think I'm starting to warm up to the idea of having a Super Bowl in New York/New Jersey. I mean, on paper, the concept is a gem. From a business standpoint, it's easy to understand why New York is such an attractive market to hold the event. It's one of the most powerful cities in the entire world. The vast array of entertainment and the bright lights can be alluring to anyone, especially when there is a Super Bowl in town. I also understand the NFL's interest in rewarding cities and teams that build new stadiums, which require huge financial investments. The NFL probably wants to recoup some of those costs through the financial windfall a local Super Bowl brings.
But man, in the freezing cold? Look, I know we have no clue what the weather will be but I'm sure it's not leaning towards 75 degrees and sunny. As a Los Angeles native, I definitely prefer the warmer climates. Now as a player, if I have the chance to play in the Super Bowl, come rain, hail, sleet or snow, I'll be the happiest man on the planet. The fans, on the other hand, not so much.
2. I think that Raiders fans and the 49ers fans would not be happy campers if they had to share a stadium together. There has been some talk lately about the possibility of the Raiders and 49ers following the examples of the Giants and Jets and sharing a stadium. Aside from the reasons why this merger may make financial sense, let's discuss the fans. When it comes to fan bases, these two are polar opposites. Even if they never see each other, the concept that someone else will be sitting in their seats during away games may not sit too well with them. This will be interesting.
3. I think the one thing I will miss from college football with the possibilities of conferences expanding is the tradition of rivalry weekend. Having played for Cal, I still look forward to the heated Pac-10 games that have become tradition every year, like Cal-Stanford and USC-UCLA. Now with the rumors of the Pac-10 expanding to a Pac-16, I wonder what will happen to those great match-ups. Will new teams in the conference like Colorado, or even possibly Oklahoma and Texas, make for new rivalries? I don't know, but for those of us who grew up enjoying those big games, it won't be the same.
4. I think these are my non-football thoughts of the week:
b. Is there a more superstitious person in sports than
c. It's amazing how the coaching techniques of
d. It's encouraging to see everybody doing their part to find a solution to the oil spill. But I just wonder how much longer it will take to plug the hole.
e. My teammates and I are going to sign a petition that will allow us to participate in the LeBron sweepstakes. Hey, everyone else is lobbying. I wonder what position he would play for us.
f. If you're bored today and you can't think of anything to do, grab some wings and a cold drink of your choice, and pop in a copy of the movie
g. Peter, I hope you are having a great time in South Africa. In my opinion, Cape Town is one of the most amazing cities in the world. I want to say thanks so much for this opportunity. Filling in for one of the premier writers in the business is not an easy task, but it has been pretty fun. Oh, and you have to check out Robben Island on your day off (if you ever have one). Thanks again.