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Even at Rookie Premiere, Paul Richardson and Kevin Pierre-Louis pined for practice
Richardson, a wide receiver from Colorado who was selected by the Seahawks in the second round of the NFL Draft last month, and Pierre-Louis, a linebacker from Boston College who was drafted in the fourth round, were among three dozen rookies who spent three days in Los Angeles last week for the 20th annual event.
“It was definitely a lot of fun,” Richardson said.
Pierre-Louis labeled the experience “a surreal feeling,” adding, “It was a great time to sit back and take everything in.”
The selected rookies were exposed to the business side of what is now their profession, as well as several Rookie Premiere partners – including Panini America, Topps, Nike, EA Sports, Pepsi, USA Today Sports, Bose, elevee, Uber, Original Retro Brand and Fandeavor.
“The NFLPA does a great job with giving out information to the rookies and making sure they’re ready to be professionals on and off the field,” Pierre-Louis said. “It was also great seeing new guys and meeting new guys – guys that we’re all going to face in the coming months.”
And the Seahawks are scheduled to play against several of the other rookies who also participated in the Premiere – wide receivers Davante Adams (Green Bay Packers), Kelvin Benjamin (Carolina Panthers), Odell Beckman, Jr. (New York Giants), Cody Latimer (Denver Broncos) and Jordan Matthews (Philadelphia Eagles); running backs Carlos Hyde (San Francisco 49ers), Tre Mason (St. Louis Rams) and De’Anthony Thomas (Kansas City Chiefs); and linebacker Khalil Mack (Oakland Raiders).
There was one problem, however. Richardson and Pierre-Louis missed an OTA session last week while in Los Angeles.
“That was definitely the toughest part,” Pierre-Louis said. “It was nice to be out there, but I would have rather had it on a weekend where we wouldn’t really miss practice – especially as rookies. Because those times are vital and you need the reps. As a rookie, we need those reps.
“We’ve obviously been brought here for a reason and they believe in our ability. But at the same time, we’re still learning a new system, learning new tendencies. We’re just in the process of learning.”
Offered Richardson, “The whole time I was complaining about how I had OTAs. But I was here for meetings on Wednesday and I missed practice on Friday. I was happy to get back, and I hadn’t missed a beat.”
But their time in SoCal also included putting on their Seahawks uniform for the first time – something the team’s other rookies won’t get to do until the preseason opener against Broncos in Denver on Aug. 7.
“That was definitely cool,” Pierre-Louis said with a smile. “Took a lot of pictures doing that.”
The other rookies at the event had the same reaction to the gear Richardson and Pierre-Louis were wearing that All-Pro strong safety Kam Chancellor got when the Nike uniforms were unveiled in New York City in 2012.
“That actually happened at the Rookie Premiere,” Pierre-Louis said when told about the envy that Chancellor had encountered from players representing the other 31 teams. “When Paul and I put on our jerseys, everybody was like, ‘Oh, man.’ There was definitely a little bit of jealousy about how good our jerseys looked compared to everyone else’s.”
Added Richardson: “It definitely felt good to be in our uniform. Other guys were giving a lot of compliments about our uniform. Best team in the NFL last year, and then you’ve got the best uniform at the Premiere.”
Richardson and Pierre-Louis will be back on the practice field at Virginia Mason Athletic Center on Thursday for the sixth of the Seahawks’ 10 OTA sessions. The remaining OTAs will be held next week, with the full-squad minicamp set for June 17-19. Then, the entire draft class will head to Aurora, Ohio, for the Rookie Symposium on June 22-28 – when Richardson and Pierre-Louis will be joined by tackle Justin Britt, defensive end Cassius Marsh, wide receiver Kevin Norwood, defensive tackle Jimmy Staten, defensive back Eric Pinkins and fullback Kiero Small.
It’s all part of their new life, and the drastic adjustments that came with being drafted by the Super Bowl champions.
“Everything changed within a second,” said Pierre-Louis, the 132nd pick overall in the NFL Draft. “I’m a guy who went to Boston College, came from Connecticut and got the call. Next thing you know, I’m on the flight first thing in the morning.
“But it’s great. I’m truly blessed to be put in this position.”