Draft picks heading to Ohio

Posted Jun 21, 2012

The Seahawks' 2012 draft class will spend four days in Ohio next week at the NFL Rookie Symposium, but the players already have heard a lot of what the messages will be thanks to Maurice Kelly.

The Seahawks’ 2012 draft class is heading to the NFL Rookie Symposium.

When they arrive in Ohio for four days of informational meetings and panel discussions (Monday and Tuesday), a football camp (Tuesday) and a visit to the Pro Football Hall of Fame (Wednesday), some of what they hear might seem like it’s a lesson plan from the School of Redundancy School.

That’s because Maurice Kelly, the team’s senior director of player development, already has been meeting with the 10 players who were selected in the April NFL Draft as well as the 10 rookie free agents who have been signed since the draft. And the Mo message is very similar – if not exactly the same – to what the players will get at the Rookie Symposium.

“It won’t be any different, but I think they can never hear it enough,” said Kelly, who played safety for the Seahawks in 2000-01 and now ties to help the rookies make a safer transition into the NFL.

“It’s just like a kid hearing it from their parent all the time. They become numb to what you’re saying, so they need to hear it from somebody else.”

The guest speakers at Rookie Symposium will include Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick, Cincinnati Bengals cornerback Adam Jones, New England Patriots cornerback Devin McCourty, free-agent wide receiver Terrell Owens and retired players La Var Arrington, Luther Ellis, Jamie Dukes, Antonio Freeman and Aeneas Williams. Hall of Fame players Michael Irvin and Carl Eller will speak to the rookies at their Pro Football Hall of Fame session in Canton.

“Each rookie should leave the symposium with the knowledge and history of where our game began, where it is today, and challenged to make a positive personal impact on the future of the game,” said Troy Vincent, NFL vice president for player engagement and a former Pro Bowl defensive back who played for the Miami Dolphins, Eagles, Buffalo Bills and Washington Redskins.

“The NFL and its clubs are committed to providing players with the best resources to succeed both on and off the field.”

Bring it on says quarterback Russell Wilson, the Seahawks’ third-round draft choice.

“The symposium is a great thing, because it helps all the rookies kind of understand what you go through as a rookie – certainly financially, media-wise and just in terms of everything that you have to deal with as a rookie,” Wilson said. “It will be a good experience, just because you get to see all the draft picks again. So that will be great.”

For Wilson and his fellow members of the Seahawks’ draft class, it will be the other players drafted by NFC teams. Because the Rookie Symposium has been moved to Ohio, the players will attend in two groups, with the AFC draft choices following those from the NFC later next week.

“We have reduced the number of draftees simultaneously attending the symposium to create the most favorable learning environment,” Vincent said.

In addition to the panel discussions that will be held in Aurora, the players also will participate in a Play 60 youth football clinic at the Cleveland Browns’ complex in Berea and then visit the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Again, Wilson can’t wait.

“It’s pretty fascinating because you get to come in as a rookie and see all the people who have started off as rookies and gone through their career and ended up in the Hall of Fame,” he said. “It’s pretty special. I want to aspire to that one day, as I’m sure other rookies do as well. But it takes a lot of hard work. So this will give us a little boost.”