Written by: Jake Matthews
Being here at the Rookie Symposium is humbling, especially because of how few players get this opportunity and how special it really is (which keeps getting mentioned). This is a reminder of how blessed we all are. Looking around the room and knowing that I am ranked alongside these players is real special to me. And I feel real proud to be a part of an organization like the NFL that is helping its players succeed.
One quote that I heard today that really resonated with me was: "A fool learns from his own mistakes, but a wise man learns from the mistakes of others." Donte Stallworth said that during his presentation about his DUI charge and that whole incident.
That's one of the things that I've picked up from this. They are giving us so many tools to help us not slip up, so it's up to us to make the most of it. One thing we talked about is how as men, we are not "supposed to" let other people know when stuff is bothering us. But they are encouraging us to let people know if we are having issues so we can take care of them before they build up and explode.
Also, the talk about the financial stuff has really stuck with me. I can probably guarantee that most of the rookies here don't know much about finance, so having the opportunity to gain a better understanding of it has been helpful. Surround yourself with people you trust, build a good team. It's so much more than being a good football player. This is the setup for the rest of your life. It's going to pay its dividends later down the road if we take advantage of what's offered to us.
I've learned a lot of new things at the Symposium. But I've also come from a football family, so the mindset and the whole attitude toward this profession is something I kind of understand. It's a job, it's competitive. If you can't perform, you're outta there. I have a pretty good understanding of that. Without a doubt, my values and ethics come from my Mom and my Dad, but the Symposium is a good reminder of a lot of other things.
At the Symposium they've been teaching us about the things that matter off the field too, like your finances and your overall wellness. That's the mind, body and spirit. And everything it takes to be a successful football player. And being able to have a plan and a goal and an understanding of what you want to do when this is over because it's not going to last forever. I think it's a freak case that my Dad and uncle both played for 19 years! I don't know how long I'll play, but I'm going to try and make the most of it.
This experience has been real beneficial and I've taken a lot from it.