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First Day on the Job

Posted May 10, 2013

Sylvester Williams, Montee Ball and Kayvon Webster reflect on their first day in the NFL.

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- The first day as an NFL player is a lot to take in.

"I was like a little kid," running back Montee Ball smiled. "As soon as I put the jersey on, the shorts, the cleats, I wanted to take all types of pictures and send them to my friends."

Seeing that in his new players is what Head Coach John Fox called "the fun part" of this weekend's rookie minicamp.

"They’re excited," he said. "You know, they’ve waited their whole lives for this. Most of these guys have been doing this since they were 10 or 11 and this is kind of a dream come true."

But the players soon realized that while this weekend is designed for them to get accustomed to their new workplace, it's also about just that -- work.

"It's a different level," first-round pick Sylvester Williams said. "It’s just like going from high school to college. It’s an adjustment everybody has to make. It’s one of those things: the faster you adjust, the better you are.”

One of the biggest adjustments is digesting a giant new playbook.

Cornerback Kayvon Webster, who said he was "anxious" to finally take the field as a Bronco, acknowledged going over all the plays he'll need to learn as an NFL player could be intimidating, but it wasn't overwhelming.

“I wouldn’t say (my head) is spinning," he said. "It’s more of an excitement for me just to be able to have an NFL playbook."

Once the rookies took the field, it was just football again. Only faster.

"It’s quick. It’s a fast tempo," Ball said of what stood out to him. "It’s not very hard on your body, but a lot of coaches are yelling and the horn goes and then you’re switching into a different segment. It’s quick, quick plays, but you’re doing a lot of stuff in a very short amount of time.”

Fortunately for the rookies, they get a chance to learn from who Williams called "the best coaches I’ve had in my life to this point."

Ball said he's already grown to appreciate Running Backs Coach Eric Studesville's style, where rather than telling a back where to run, he'll ask him why he went one way as opposed to another.

"That’s what I really appreciate about him, because that’s true about the game—it’s all about reacting, what you saw at that split-second," Ball said.

Ultimately, the rookies understand that this weekend is about playing catch-up. When OTAs kick off in a little more than a week, veterans will be back in the fold. And the rookies will need to stay on pace with them as the team runs through its plays.

"This is the chance to adjust right now, before you get thrown into the water with the veterans," Williams said. "You don’t want to come in with the veterans and have them pull you on. You want to keep up. And that’s something these three days give us."

So what is the main thing the players hope to take away from this weekend?

According to Ball, it's an in-depth knowledge of the playbook.

"I don’t want to be the player out there running the wrong way or blocking the wrong person," he said. "I want to be the player that they can count on and know the entire playbook inside and out."

Then he paused.

"Or at least a little bit of it inside and out."

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