Archive for June, 2013

NFL Rookie Symposium Kicks Off Sunday, Sessions To Stress History, Total Wellness, Experience, & Professionalism

AFC rookies to attend June 23-26, NFC rookies June 26-29

The NFL kicks off its 16th Rookie Symposium on Sunday (June 23), emphasizing the sport’s legacy, tradition of character and leadership, as well as social and professional responsibility. The four-day orientation held at the Bertram Hotel in Aurora, Ohio will introduce the 2013 NFL Draft class to life in the NFL prior to the rookies reporting to training camps next month.

“We believe in our peer-to-peer model that the more information these young men have on how those before them handled success, the better prepared they will be to meet expectations on and off the field,” said NFL Senior Vice President of Player Engagement TROY VINCENT, who was a five-time Pro Bowl selection in his 15-year NFL career. “Through our speakers there is a story to be told, a lesson to be learned, a teachable moment, a message of success in conveying our number one objective which is to provide our rookies the tools to succeed during their NFL playing experience and beyond.”

The four core teaching principles of the Rookie Symposium are NFL History, Total Wellness, Experience, and Professionalism. The symposium includes presentations, videos, and workshops on player health and safety, decision making, mental health, substance abuse, non-discrimination and maintaining positive relationships.

Guest speakers at the Rookie Symposium (June 23-26 for AFC rookies, June 26-29 for NFC rookies) include current and former players who have experienced a wide-range of success and challenges in their football careers and personal lives.

Participants include LA VAR ARRINGTON (former player), VERNON DAVIS (San Francisco), BRIAN DAWKINS (former player), LUTHER ELLISS (former player), ANTONIO FREEMAN (former player), MIKE HAYNES (former player), DESMOND HOWARD (former player), TERRYTANK” JOHNSON (former player), ADAM JONES (Cincinnati), DHANI JONES (former player), PATRICK KERNEY (former player), CHAD PENNINGTON (former player), DELANIE WALKER (Tennessee) and AENEAS WILLIAMS (former player).

Pro Football Hall of Famers JIM BROWN and RICHARD DENT will conduct a history session for the rookies at the nearby Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton.

Additional speakers include representatives from the NFL office and clubs, the NFL Players Association, professionals in specialized fields, and current and former NFL players.

Panel discussion topics include “Transitioning to NFL,” “Self Regulation,” “Are You Bigger than the Game,” “Staying in the Game,” Expectations of an NFL Player,” and “What Defines Success.”

Each player will also participate in a PLAY 60 youth football clinic with children from the Cleveland area at the Cleveland Browns Training and Administrative complex (AFC rookies Tuesday at 9:30 AM; NFC rookies Friday at 9:30 AM).

To learn more, visit

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2013 NFL Rookie Symposium Media Availability

WHAT:        2013 NFL Rookie Symposium PLAY 60 Youth Football Clinic

WHERE:      Cleveland Browns Training and Administrative Complex
76 Lou Groza Blvd, Berea, OH 44017

(Media should check in and pick up credentials at the Training Camp media entrance off of Pearl Street located at the southwest corner of the facility.)

For specific player interview requests, please contact Corry Rush ( or Randall Liu (

WHEN:         Tuesday, June 25 (AFC Rookies); 9:30 AM – 12:00 PM
                       Friday, June 28 (NFC Rookies); 9:30AM – 12:00PM

WHO:            300 local children

All 254 members of the 2013 NFL Draft Class (AFC Rookies – Tuesday, June 25; NFC Rookies – Friday, June 28)

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Hard Knocks: Training Camp with the Cincinnati Bengals debuts Aug. 6


HBO Sports, NFL Films and the Cincinnati Bengals team up for an all-access look at what it takes to make it in the National Football League when HARD KNOCKS:  TRAINING CAMP WITH THE CINCINNATI BENGALS debuts in August.  The first sports-based reality series – and one of the fastest-turnaround programs on television – kicks off its five-episode eighth season, presented in HD, TUESDAY, AUG. 6 (10:00-11:00 p.m. ET/PT), exclusively on HBO.  Other hour-long episodes debut subsequent Tuesdays at the same time, with an encore play every Wednesday at 11:00 p.m., culminating in the Sept. 3 season finale.

“We are delighted that Hard Knocks will be returning this summer and excited for our return to the AFC North and the Cincinnati Bengals franchise,” says Ken Hershman, President, HBO Sports. “With playoff appearances three of the past four seasons, the Bengals have built a terrific young team and we are extremely grateful to both Coach Marvin Lewis and the entire organization for agreeing to participate. The series has become captivating television with appeal far beyond the hardcore football fan.  Hard Knocks is a cornerstone franchise at HBO Sports.”

“We’re thrilled to again work with both the Cincinnati Bengals and HBO Sports,” said Howard Katz, COO of NFL Films and NFL Senior Vice President of Broadcasting.  “In particular, we want to thank Mike Brown for the trust he’s shown in NFL FILMS by allowing us access into Bengals training camp. This year’s Bengals squad provides us with a compelling combination of unique storylines:  a veteran coaching staff, young superstars, high-profile free agents and an intriguing draft class. We can’t wait to see what will take place this year and look forward to collaborating with HBO which has been the perfect partner for us since Hard Knocks debuted 12 seasons ago.”

The cinema verité series will focus on the daily lives and routines of players and coaches as the Cincinnati Bengals, who compete in the ultra-competitive AFC Central, prepare for the 2013 NFL season.  HARD KNOCKS:  TRAINING CAMP WITH THE CINCINNATI BENGALS will chronicle eleventh-year head coach Marvin Lewis and an intriguing mix of high-profile veterans, emerging stars, free agents and rookie hopefuls throughout training camp and the four-game preseason schedule.  Each week, players will experience drills, instruction, meetings and fun, while striving to prove they have what it takes to make the team and make their mark in the NFL.

“The feedback we got from our experience with Hard Knocks in 2009 was outstanding,” said Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis. “Our fans enjoyed it tremendously and we’re happy to try and provide that same experience again. Our fans love the NFL and they enjoy seeing things they don’t normally get to see. We have some outstanding men, both as players and as people. They’ve got great charisma to go along with their football skills, and the Hard Knocks treatment allows for both to shine through.”

Lewis added: “Some people say, ‘Well, you won the division the last time you did this; is that a reason for doing it again?’ I really don’t think that matters or figures much into the decision. Every day, every time is a new experience. As coaches and players, we just go into it knowing we have to do our jobs to the utmost. We have a grueling schedule, and expectations are very high, particularly among ourselves. We’ve got to take a workmanlike attitude from the very start.  Hard Knocks is another element you have to be prepared to deal with. The NFL Films people are totally professional, so that’s not a worry, but it’s not like a normal day. One thing I did see as a positive last time was exposing our players to another group of people who are working hard every day the way we need to work. The diligence and the effort of the people on-site is very impressive.”

A 24-person NFL Films crew will live in the city of Cincinnati as the Bengals will hold camp at Paul Brown Stadium, shooting more than 1,250 hours of footage shot over the course of the series.  Camera and sound crews will be given unencumbered access to the players’ and coaches’ meeting rooms, training rooms, living quarters and practice fields.

Last summer’s edition of HARD KNOCKS marked the first time the series premiered on Tuesday nights and it proved to be a resounding success; the five-part prime-time series on the resurgent Miami Dolphins averaged 4.1 million viewers per episode making it the second most watched HARD KNOCKS in a decade.

HARD KNOCKS launched with the Baltimore Ravens in 2001, followed by the Dallas Cowboys in 2002.  The series resumed in 2007 with the Kansas City Chiefs, winning a Sports Emmy®.  In 2008, the series returned to the Dallas Cowboys, receiving a second Sports Emmy® for production excellence.  In 2009 HARD KNOCKS spotlighted the Cincinnati Bengals franchise and the show captured two more Sports Emmy® Awards for “Outstanding Edited Series/Anthology” and “Outstanding Post-Produced Audio/Sound.”  In 2010 the New York Jets were featured and the series captured three Sports Emmys®, including the trophy for “Outstanding Edited Series/Anthology.”  Last summer’s presentation with the Miami Dolphins earned the franchise an eighth Sports Emmy in the category of “Outstanding Post-Produced Audio/Sound.”

Rolling Stone noted that Hard Knocks is, “A smash hit series” while Time Magazine called the program, “riveting.”

Sports said Hard Knocks is the “most entertaining reality show on TV.” wrote: “…This is undoubtedly the greatest football program in the history of the television medium.”

The Palm Beach Post concluded: “Hard Knocks can not only inspire, but teach.  The show often includes coaches giving blunt analyses of players.”

Business Week observed: “As a workplace drama, it ranks among the best on television….The thrust of the narrative is this: Only 53 spots are available on any given roster for an NFL team.”

The New York Daily News said: “This show sizzled…proving it’s the gold standard of sports reality programming.”


Associated Press: Sarah Thomas Looks to Become NFL’s First Permanent Female Official

The Associated Press recently published a feature on Sarah Thomas, a member of the NFL’s Officiating Development Program who may soon become the first permanent female official in league history as early as the 2014 season.

Thomas, who works as a line judge in college football’s Conference USA, spent three days last week officiating at the Indianapolis Colts minicamp as part of the new development program.  She will work during NFL training camps beginning next month and could officiate in preseason games this year.

As per the AP:  “Thomas shows many of the qualities and traits the NFL looks for in an official.  She’s confident and shows a command of where to go and what to do at all times.  Having a female involved and the NFL showing its diversity, well, that’s just a bonus.”

To read the complete story, please click here.

Transcript: NFL Chief Security Officer Jeff Miller on Enhanced Stadium Safety Policy

NFL teams yesterday outlined a league policy for this season designed to provide a safer environment for the public and significantly expedite fan entry into stadiums. Fans will stay be able to bring in the same items but will do so in clear bags that do not exceed 12” x 6” x 12,” one-gallon clear plastic freezer bags or in small clutch bags. For more information on the policy and a FAQ, please click here

Jeffrey Miller, the NFL’s Chief Security Officer, explained the policy this morning to Sirius XM NFL Radio’s Bob Papa and Ross Tucker. The transcript is below.


Friday, June 14, 2013


On the NFL’s new stadium safety policy:

Every year, we work with our committee on stadium security and fan conduct to evaluate where we can improve our overall safety procedures at our stadiums.  This year, we were doing the same thing, and the terrorist attacks occurred in Boston.  We had to acknowledge that, as well.  We were looking at our entry policy anyway.  That was another factor to consider.

It really comes down to this: Our fans absolutely deserve to be in a safe and secure environment.  Public safety with Commissioner Goodell and our owners is our No. 1 priority.  We realize that fans value being in a safe environment, but they also want to spend less time in line entering the stadium.  The new policy provides both greater safety and expedited entry into the stadiums for our fans.

On setting up a small number of entrance points for fans who wish to bring larger bags:

That’s a good point, and we have talked about that. Here is why that doesn’t work: Basically, at any large public event, particularly an NFL football game, you have hundreds if not thousands of fans coming together in a very close area.  What we want to do is keep a safety buffer zone for those fans.  If we were to take that approach and say, ‘We are going to have these two lines for fans who are going to bring any bag that they want,’ those fans would be coming from all different directions in the parking lot, and it would require them to walk in and near the large queue lines of fans waiting to enter the stadium.  The safest approach is to be able to quickly discern the types of bags that are permissible and those that would be prohibited before that point at a secondary perimeter looking outward away from the stadium.  That is why unfortunately we can’t really take the approach that the caller suggests because it would still open up some risk to our fans in those large queue lines entering the stadium.

On sports teams eventually administering an airport-like security scan at stadiums:

We already have screening parameters.  We have been a leader, I think, among the sports leagues in doing the type of screening that we have.  We started after 9/11 with Commissioner (Paul) Tagliabue and the advisory group that really looked at setting up our best practices.  Now, our stadium best practices are certified by DHS (Department of Homeland Security) under the Safety Act.  We have made a number of tweaks and adjustments over the years.  We did pat downs, enhanced pat downs.  Now, we do full metal detector screening of our fans coming into the stadium.  This is another step.  We are asking our fans to consider not bringing bags. Consider, do you really need to bring a bag?  But if you come to the conclusion that you absolutely must bring a bag, that is OK.  We are providing a way for you to do it.  We are just changing the type of vessel you can bring.  It is something that we can easily see into, and it provides much greater safety.  It is also going to speed things up at the gate.  It is a win-win, really, and I think our fans will adjust to it.  Some very large venues across the country – the University of Michigan, Penn State University and Michigan State University – those are large venues that have no-bag policies in place.  If it can work at a stadium like the University of Michigan’s, it can work at NFL stadiums, but we are even giving our fans that extra opportunity if they really believe they need to bring a bag into our stadiums.

On protocols for people who have unique item needs, particularly medical supplies:

Absolutely, we will always look out for people who have special needs.  The exception that we have made is for medically necessary items after proper inspection at a gate that is designated for that person.  An individual like that [a Carolina Panthers season ticket holder who has an autistic child with Asperger’s Syndrome] with a special need would contact the Panthers and go to the gate that has been designated.  They may be subject to a secondary screening prior to getting into the buffer zone area and then when they get to that gate they will be screened in and be able to attend the game just like they always did.

On whether it is difficult to balance being prepared for all security risks with being seen as going overboard by fans:

You’re right, it is a balancing act. There is no question about it. I am very sensitive to fan engagement and any concerns that ownership has, but we really have to balance it out. The bottom line is that if we do it in the right way, by taking this step, which to me is a small step for all of our fans to take for a much greater security posture at our stadiums, fans can come and just think about the game and enjoy the game and not be concerned with the other aspects of life. Just come in and enjoy the National Football League. That is what we want fans to be able to do. By taking this step we think we will create a safer environment. There are other things that we will do that we have talked about with our security stakeholders and law enforcement partners. We will do other things that people do not even notice but are there for their protection.

On the women who cite not being able to bring a purse into stadiums as an inconvenience:

We have done some polling of hundreds of female fans and when they understand what we are really trying to do here, which is increase safety and expedite entry into the stadium, the overwhelming majority have said it is a minor inconvenience. The way I think we can handle this is that if you bring the ‘clutch bag’ and have some private items that you do not want in a clear bag, then you can put it in the ‘clutch bag.; You can put the ‘clutch bag’ inside the larger plastic bag or you can just hold it in your hand and still bring the larger plastic bag. These bags that we are permitting are very accommodating in size. We are not restricting the fans ability to bring the products they need, we are just changing the type of container to afford better safety and speed at the entry points. When I say 12-inch by 6-inch by 12-inch template bag, it is very large and very accommodating. I do not think there is anything that someone would not be able to bring in should they have a need to do so.

Again, we would encourage people to say, ‘Do I really need to bring all of this stuff to the game? It is a few hours, my car is right out there and I’ll be back to my vehicle at the end of the game. Maybe I just need my phone, some money, an ID and some things I can just stick in my pocket.’ That will work for most fans. But for those who want to bring more than that, not a problem. We just ask and will require you to use the type of bag specified.

On whether teams will have to adjust the merchandise they sell because some fit the description of banned items:

The teams will make adjustments to what they offer and the way they offer them. For instance, one club we spoke to yesterday wants to do a seat-cushion giveaway for their last home game. That is fine and something they can do inside of the stadium on the seats for the fans when they come in. It is not a situation where people are bringing in a large cushion item that you can put things inside of. There are ways that we can do this. The clubs are very cooperative and they want to make a really good experience for the fans. The teams will make the adjustments that are necessary to work within the policy, so we can have the safe environment that our fans deserve and expect.

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National Football League Selected As Finalist For “Beyond Sport Awards 2013”

NFL One of Five Finalists For Sports Federation or Governing Body of the Year

 Beyond Sport today announced the nominees for their annual “Beyond Sport Awards” and the National Football League is one of five finalists in the category of Sports Federation or Governing Body of the Year.

 The Beyond Sport Awards 2013 consist of 11 categories with 32 total nominees covering the entire sporting spectrum of health, social inclusion, corporate and social responsibility, and philanthropy.  The 32 projects were selected from just under 400 entries from more than 125 countries.

The winners will be announced at the “Beyond Sport Summit and Awards 2013, the premier global gathering in the field of sport and development, which will be staged in Philadelphia from September 9-11, 2013.

In addition, the San Francisco 49ers are one of four finalists for Sport Team of the Year.

The National Football League is joined by four other finalists for Sport Federation or Governing Body of the Year.  The finalists include:

Australian Football League
Hockey Association of Malawi
International Table Tennis Federation
USA Swimming

The Beyond Sport Awards program provides support worth $3 million annually to projects across the world that use sport to address issues within their communities.

For the complete release, click here.

NFL Health and Safety Update—June 12, 2013

For the complete release, click here

2013-2014 National Football League Important Dates

To view the 2013-2014 National Football League Important Dates, click here

NFL Play 60 Character Camps to be held in Twelve Cities This Summer

Presented in Partnership with the Muñoz Agency and USA Football

More than 3,600 Youth to Participate

The NFL has partnered with Hall of Fame offensive tackle Anthony Muñoz and the Muñoz Agency for the second year to host NFL PLAY 60 Character Camps this summer as part of the NFL’s year-round Hispanic outreach initiative, focused on offering youth opportunities to play and experience the game of football.

The two-day, non-contact football camps will be hosted in 12 NFL markets – Chicago, Cincinnati, Dallas, Houston, Indianapolis, Miami, Oakland, Pittsburgh, San Diego, San Francisco, Tampa Bay and Tennessee – with support from the local NFL team. Each site will welcome approximately 300 predominantly-Hispanic boys and girls ages 9-13 with little or no football experience from local youth organizations.

The mission of the camps is to make a positive impact on youth through teaching football skills, emphasizing exercise, and reinforcing the importance of character in athletics and life.

The program will work in collaboration with USA Football and its FUNdamentals curriculum, which introduces children to football by teaching basic skills in a non-contact setting.  USA Football is the official youth football development partner of the NFL and its 32 teams.

In addition, the camps will teach character values that are core to the Anthony Muñoz Foundation, as well as promote NFL PLAY 60’s health and fitness message.  NFL PLAY 60 is the league’s youth health and fitness campaign, aimed at getting kids active for 60 minutes a day.

Each camp participant will receive a football with a bilingual hang-tag that offers youth an opportunity to view videos in Spanish and English that teach the basics of football on the NFL’s youth website,  The NFL has donated more than 30,000 footballs to youth as part of its Hispanic outreach initiative.

NFL PLAY 60 Character Camps will also be held in Denver in September in conjunction with the NFL’s celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month, as well as in New York/New Jersey during Super Bowl week.

For the complete release, click here

NFL and New England Patriots Celebrate Roger Clap Innovation School, Winner of NFL Play 60 Bus Contest

Patriots Owner, Players, Cheerleaders and Team Mascot Bring More Than $50,000 in Donated Equipment to the School

The NFL PLAY 60 bus made a special stop today at Roger Clap Innovation School in Dorchester, MA. The school is the winner of the national NFL PLAY 60 Bus Contest.

As part of the event, New England Patriots Chairman and CEO ROBERT KRAFT, along with Patriots players DANNY AMENDOLA, CHANDLER JONES, NIKO KOUTOUVIDES, STEVAN RIDLEY, MATTHEW SLATER, SHANE VEREEN and LEON WASHINGTON, cheerleaders and the team mascot, Pat Patriot, boarded the PLAY 60 bus to deliver $50,000 in fitness equipment to the elementary school.  The equipment was donated by the NFL.

More than 3,700 communities entered the NFL PLAY 60 Bus Contest by writing a short essay and submitting a photo on describing how the NFL PLAY 60 bus could help youth in their town be more active.

The winning entry, submitted by a member of the school’s parent council, detailed Roger Clap Innovation School’s limited play space and difficulty helping families find the time to get active together. To help students and their families get active, Patriots players led kids through an NFL PLAY 60 PE class and helped them refurbish the outside of the school by participating in landscaping and painting projects. In addition, Roger Clap Innovation School will receive a new playground, playground and PE equipment. Each student also received an NFL Play 60 football.

A number of NFL PLAY 60 partners, including National Dairy Council and the Dairy Council of New England, contributed to the school’s health and wellness goals during the event. United Way also provided local volunteers to lead the on-site renovation projects.

In addition to the event at Roger Clap Innovation School, the NFL sent special NFL PLAY 60 activity kits to 24 runner-up schools and communities that entered the NFL PLAY 60 Bus Contest. A list of those schools is below.

For the complete release, click here