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'Now this is your job' -- How rookie orientation prepares players for what is to come

Posted May 11, 2018

For the Broncos' rookies, there was no time to waste as they dove into a blizzard of meetings and lessons that introduced them to NFL life.

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- The rookies' first weekend with the Broncos isn't what it used to be -- but that doesn't mean it's less beneficial than the days with more extensive on-field work.

Above all, this weekend is about getting the Broncos' rookie class ready for the rigors of the NFL that await them over the coming weeks, months -- and, hopefully, years. The expectations and demands in pro football are beyond what any of these players have experienced. Friday, they began learning about what awaits them.

"It's just the mental aspect. Everything's just different," running back Phillip Lindsay said. "You're coming from college, where you had classes and you had time off. Now this is your job."

It's a job, and like any full-time position in the workforce, it will be a defining aspect of the rookies' lives.

"You're really doing a lot of introduction work, for how the NFLPA and things of that sort go," fourth-round wide receiver DaeSean Hamilton said. "Basically, the dos and don'ts of the NFL, how to have a long, successful career, and what to do after your career is over, and those types of meetings."

Beyond that information, the rookies received another message -- one about accountability, a word stamped on the workout T-shirts some of them wore as they met the media Friday.

"They've got us focused on understanding what we have to do while we're here ... just how to carry ourselves and how to be ready," sixth-round inside linebacker Keishawn Bierria said. "They're teaching us why it's important to be accountable and just [how to] compete."

After focusing on off-field issues, Hamilton said the tone of the meetings shifted from preparing for life in the NFL to more football-centric matters. Those meetings provide the coaches a chance to hammer home a message that sticks with players.

"I think the biggest [message] is, 'Win championships,' and that's the biggest thing," fourth-round inside linebacker Josey Jewell said. "You come in here, it's not to [just] get to the playoffs, it's to be able to get to that championship at the end of the year.

"And the other thing for us -- especially as rookies -- is to do more than expected. It was another big thing that we all wrote down in our notes."

Doing more means putting in time beyond the mandated hours in practice and meetings, especially since the rookies have plenty of ground to cover.

"You start at six o'clock in the morning to whenever the job is done for you," Lindsay said. "It's never going to be done for me, because I'm playing catch-up.

"I'm a rookie. I'm coming in and veterans are all ahead of us, so we need to get caught up with them so that we can be a part of the team."