MMQB ran an interesting story on the Los Angeles Rams treatment of their rookies in a piece yesterday. While the main segment was on Oklahoma HC Lincoln Riley, the third portion focused on the new rookie transition program and how the Rams are overseeing their version of it.
The old rookie symposium, a league-run event for drafted rookies only, was ended after 2015. In its place, the NFL instituted a rookie transition program to be run independently by all 32 NFL teams and cover 15 topics headlined by their financial literacy briefing.
The piece details the rookies going to a Los Angeles Dodgers game together, going to the NFL Network studios, having dinner at Los Angeles Rams Vice President of Business Development and legend RB Eric Dickerson’s house, talking branding and social media with the former NFL marketing rep at Adidas, and hitting the beach, but the most important part of the read involved Senior Personnel Executive Brian Xanders, the former general manager with the Denver Broncos whom the Rams hired last summer, and Director of Player Engagement Jacques McClendon who joined the Rams in May after an eight season career as a player in the NFL:
There was a sobering session too, when Rams senior personnel executive Brian Xanders, the former Broncos GM, spoke to the rookies about the reality that a good chunk of them would be gone at the end of August, while giving them a road map for how to handle the worst-case scenario if it were to come. That, of course, is the idea of program as a whole, as McClendon sees it—making sure his players are ready for whatever might come
“One thing we do, we care about the man,” said McClendon, who lasted seven years on and off NFL rosters. “And if you care about the man, and you make him a more complete man, he’s a less distracted football player and he’s going to perform optimally. I feel like that’s what we do here. We truly care about these guys, and that makes my job easier, because that comes from the top, not just from me.”
“We care about the man.”
“We not me” might play better with fans and on social media, but “we care about the man” certainly has to mean more in NFL circles.
Good on the Rams for it.