Ah, May. The wonderful time of year where NFL teams finally begin to see where all of their hard offseason signing and drafting has gotten them. The time when they can bring in their newly drafted players, begin teaching them the playbook, get them some practice reps with the first team, and just all in all get ready for the upcom...
The rookies aren't at minicamp? They are not allowed at minicamp?
Instead of getting their feet wet with their actual teams, many NFL rookies are being forced (essentially) into attending the ever so prestigious NFL Player Rookie Premiere. Sponsored by Reebok. And Presented by EA Sports. According to the event's website, the Premiere will be all sorts of fun for the rooks:
"As part of the four-day outing, rookies will wear their official team jerseys for the first time and participate in a series of photo shoots at the Los Angeles Coliseum for trading card companies Donruss Playoff, Topps and Upper Deck. In the past, rookies have also visited local hobby shops, participated in media appearances and hosted a kids’ clinic during their four days in Los Angeles.
The week’s activities will be filmed for a one-hour television special, produced by PLAYERS INC and The NFL Network. The show will air repeatedly on the NFL Network starting in July."
Oh goody. More repetitive programming on NFL Network? AWESOME
Now, as much fun as getting your picture taken by trading card companies while you do dumb crap (note the above picture from last year's event), some rookies wanted to well...do football stuff. You know, like minicamp. So some of the rookies, including the Colt's Anthony Gonzalez and the Packer's Brandon Jackson, declined the invitation. Now, this is where things get a little screwy. Evidently Gene Upshaw or some other idiot gave the NFL the ability in the collective bargaining agreement to prevent the rookies from attending their team minicamp if they refused to go play dress up for the trading card cabal. So the players who, especially in Jackson's case, were trying to get a leg up on starting positions were given the option of either attending the event or sitting at home. Good to know where the NFL's priorities lie. Sponsors. TV tie ins. Photo ops. Ugh.