While the NFL Rookie Symposium is being held, the big story in the league is the first-degree murder charges that former New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez is facing. The situation comes a year after Hernandez signed a $40 million contract extension and it serves as a perfect example of how the NFL stands for “Not For Long” if you don’t take the right steps.
Rookies spend time going through seminars and sitting through speeches during the symposium and they just can’t seem to avoid discussing the Hernandez situation.
At the symposium, second-year players also speak with the incoming rookie class about learning the ropes and adjusting. One of those players that addressed the second year players this year was Indianapolis Colts tight end Dwayne Allen.
Allen’s message to the rookies was delivered loud and clear. Don’t be afraid to change. It is probably in your best interest.
“A lot of people are afraid of the words, ‘Oh man, you different,’ ” Allen said, via Rick Maese of the Washington Post. “You damn right I’m different. You damn right I’m different. I got a lot more money in my pocket, and a lot more sense. That’s the way you got to go about it.
“If you just turn on your TV to ESPN, this is a brotherhood. This is a brotherhood. One of our brothers in trouble right now. It really hurts me, man. But one of our brothers is in trouble right now because he didn’t want to be different. You got to make a choice right now.
“You’re not the same dude you was when you grew up. You different now. That doesn’t mean you can’t hang out with your boys, do things you used to do with your boys. You still do those, but you got to be smart about it, smart about your decisions, man.”
Allen hit the nail on the head.
A lot of people may not understand how hard it is for these players to change once they make it.
For the guys who have grown up in a tough situation, all they have at times is loyalty. Your friends become your family and you unfortunately can run in to the wrong crowd when you are just looking to fit in.
Once you find your out and have a path to success, you need to focus on fulfilling your potential and bettering your life. After all, that is likely why the poor decisions were made in the first place.
Hernandez’s story serves as a warning to those players who are coming in to the league.
Don’t throw everything away over a petty argument or disagreement. If you have the means to get away from the people who could bring you down in your life, you need to take the opportunity. Sure, you may have to face the fact that your friends who you consider family say you changed, but it is worth it when you change for the better.