By Rachel Terrill, Player Engagement Insider
Congratulations NFL Draft Class of 2016 – and welcome to the NFL. You didn’t get here by chance. You gave it everything you had. When you were tired, you worked harder. When everyone else went home, you stayed on the field for extra reps. Years of hard work, of training, of offseasons devoted to the sport. You spent mornings and afternoons in the weight room and evenings in front of the screen watching film. Finally, it paid off. But the hard work isn’t over. Your professional career has just begun. It’s up to you how it plays out.
What began as a glimmer of hope became a dream. What was a dream in high school and college became a dream come true when your name was called at the 2016 NFL Draft.
Now, your dream-come-true is your daily life. You are an NFL player. For so long this has been the goal, the destination. But this isn’t the end of your journey as a football player; it’s only the beginning. This is where the hardest work of your football career begins. Playbooks are thicker, opponents are stronger, and the stage is bigger than ever before.
Do not be dismayed. Being a rookie can be challenging. Perhaps you were not drafted as early as you’d hoped. Perhaps you were hoping to be drafted by a different team. Do not let your mind worry about your football future and how your dream might play out. Instead, believe in your success and work hard to get there.
To help you and your fellow 2016 NFL rookies adjust to life in the NFL, Darren Krein, NFL Legend and Head Strength and Conditioning Coach for the Indianapolis Colts, offered advice. “Enjoy the experience. Persevere. Work hard. Keep a humble attitude and be willing to overcome adversity. That’s what will get you noticed.”
Not all NFL Draft picks stick with the team that drafted them. “Don't get bogged down with who drafted you or when you got drafted,” Krein said. Many drafted players get cut by the end of training camp and many free agents make NFL rosters every year. You may end up on the other side of the country by September.”
Even after the NFL Draft, it takes determination and hard work to persevere in the NFL. “If you have a true passion for the game, and you are willing to put in what it takes to be successful, an NFL team will find you. Maybe not initially, but eventually,” Krein said.
To make the most of your NFL career, Coach Krein offers an easy-to-remember Four C’s for NFL Players:
Consistent - Be the same person in the locker room that you are on the field. There will be high highs and low lows during your time in the NFL. Don't let either of them influence who you are or how you act.
Coachable – Be willing to learn from your coaches and from veteran players. Invite and accept criticism. Improving your game will only make you a better player.
Compete - Compete against your teammates and, most importantly, compete with yourself. In the NFL, someone is always working hard to become better than you. Always strive to be even better than you were the day before.
Communicate – Interact with teammates and coaches in a healthy way. Openly express how you are feeling and what is going on with your body and with your life. This applies to communicating in the locker room, on the field, and in your life outside of football.
You’ve made it – and now the best part of your journey begins. Work hard and enjoy the ride. Congratulations, NFL Draft Class of 2016 – and welcome to the NFL Family!