Athlete Development

  • Longevity is a very important goal for today’s athlete, and this article provides a few tips from several NFL players 34 or older. [NFL’s Fountain of Youth]
  • For any baseball players aspiring to make it to the pros, ESPN offers an article with some details of the advantages of playing college ball over being drafted immediately after high school. [The Benefits of Choosing College Over Pros]
  • Each year, many overlooked high school football players head to Nike Football SPARQ Combines around the U.S. hoping to improve their regional and national buzz. For Miami Class of 2012 DE Dwayne Hoilett, the experience was a major benefit. “Without those camps, I would be a lot more underrated than I am,” Hoilett says. “I’d be good for my area, but I wouldn’t have the state or national recognition. I wouldn’t have had as many offers.” [Players Use Camps to Earn Scholarships]
  • In an ESPN article, several NFL pros were asked to reflect on their senior seasons in high school. Cleveland Browns TE Ben Watson’s advice about the recruiting process stood out. “I think the greatest advice would be to be really proactive in the process. It's hard to speak up and ask the tough questions that you want answered when a smooth coach is recruiting you or some older guys on the team are showing you around, but it's really about you and how you feel about the school and the program. Have a firm set of priorities and don't waver from them just because you are impressed by a visit or a call. Never forget that it's about you and your decision in this important stage of life.” [Senior Season: Insights From Proven Pros]
  • If you and your family had to meet with several agents to determine who is going to represent you, how would you choose? What questions would you ask? If you have never thought about it or are stuck, prominent NFL agent Jack Bechta offers some topics to consider when interviewing a player agent. [Inside the Player-Agent Interviews]
Human Relations
  • In a matter of a year, senior DB Jenoris Jenkins went from a projected first round pick at Florida to a member of Division II North Alabama after being kicked off the team for a series of drug arrests. “It humbled me down a lot, seeing that I went from Florida, a Nike school getting three or four pairs of cleats a year, to going to a Division II football school where I’m getting just one pair of cleats. It really humbled me as a kid. The environment was totally different as far as 95,000-plus in the Swamp to 3,500 at North Alabama. It was a big difference.” [Ex-Florida DB Trying To Impress at Senior Bowl]
  • After 11 seasons in the NFL, DT Chris Hoke has decided to retire following a neck injury early in the season. When asked what caused him to retire instead of attempting to return for another season, he responded that risking his health would be “irresponsible” and “would be doing my family a disservice.” However, Hoke mentioned that his decision wasn’t such an easy one. “I’m in a great organization, I’m playing for great coaches, I’ve got great teammates. I didn’t want to give that up. To me it was more than just going and chasing the almighty dollar. It was about my family and my way of life.” [Steelers NT Hoke Ready To Embrace Retirement]
  • Imagine being a freshman DB and hearing a snap after making a tackle. While laying down on the field unable to move and panicking you hear a familiar voice telling you to stay calm and telling you that you will pull through. For former Penn State player Adam Taliaferro, the voice he heard after sustaining a spinal cord injury was Joe Paterno, the former long-time coach who recently passed away at 85. ESPN’s Rick Reilly offers an interesting story of a bond between player and coach that went beyond the gridiron. [Reilly: Paterno's True Legacy]
  • Kudos and best wishes to high school DE Addison Marshall, who battled a two-year battle with leukemia to play in the final game of his senior season. Marshall’s courage earned him the 2011 Inspirium Football Awards, which is awarded to young athletes who inspire their teammates, classmates, families and communities. He will head to Texas A&M this fall to major in physical therapy. [Get Familiar with Inspirational Addison Marshall]