To the NFL Rookie Class of 2023:
Welcome to the NFL. You are about to begin a wonderful new chapter in your athletic experience, a phase that you have never before experienced—there is nothing like the professional level. The dream of your life now moves from the Draft to focusing on earning a roster spot.
Having been there myself many years ago, just wanted to share with you some things to think about as you embark on putting on a new uniform, in a new city, with a new fan base. Life favors those who are prepared. Success not only depends on your skill level, but also your ability to transition and sustain yourself as a professional athlete, and that takes a plan.
Creating a sustainable schedule for success is critical to competing at this highest level. The way you study, eat, take care of your body, practice, adapt, and control what you can control will reflect your values as a teammate. Can your coaches, teammates, club count on you?
There will be demands that you have not yet experienced, not only in terms of the competition, but also from outside the locker room, off the field, engaging in your community. You will draw on the very skills and values that were instilled in you since you first played the game. As you look forward, know your rights and know your resources as a player and a citizen.
The real you will be revealed. What kind of pro do you want to be? How are you going to show up every day? How are you going to manage success, expectations, challenges? Who do you confide in and what kind of advice do they give? These are all questions that relate to your sustainability as a professional athlete.
You will have choices to make. Your choices will determine your destiny. Only you can decide the proper integration of work, family and community. Consider your plan. It doesn’t have to be perfect. You don’t have to have all the answers. Take your step forward. It’s a rewarding journey that, while requiring hard work and dedication, has many blessings now and in the future. The very best to you.
Troy Vincent, Sr.