The Raiders 2013 Draft Class at the NFL Rookie Symposium. Photo courtesy of David Bass
June 24, 2013
We got in right about 5:30 yesterday, so we had to immediately check in, get to our rooms. We got a chance to eat dinner and then went to the annex, which is where we host our overall meetings for everybody. We got a chance to break out and they gave us the game plan for the whole week. We broke off into what we call 'breakout meetings' and then those 'breakout meetings' you basically have two teams, us and the Jacksonville Jaguars. We meet with them. Everything we say is confidential, so it stays in the room. And we have group leaders, which is ours, Lamonte [Winston] and a couple more – one from the Jaguars and one from NFL security. They basically go over with us about different topics just to pick our brain, let us think, put us in certain situations and ask everybody's opinion. We ask that everybody respect each other's opinion and just tell how you relate to it and how it affects your life or if you've ever been through something like that, depending on the situation.
Today, we had about two to three breakout meetings and a few team meetings. We went over basically everything the NFL offers from education on domestic violence, total wellness, educational opportunities, there are so many I can't even think…One thing today that was huge though was Chris Herren came to speak; he was on ESPN for his story about his being an addict for cocaine and heroin and stuff like that. He came and talked to us for an hour and I want to say it changed everybody in there. It probably changed some lives in there, to be honest. That was inspirational. Pacman Jones and Maurice Clarett came and shared their testimony. That was pretty much it for the day.
Definitely seen a lot of people that I trained with, that I met at East-West, and then at the Combine. It's just good to see everybody on the same page, still grinding and we're out for the same goal. We're meeting people and we're reuniting with people we once knew and hung out with. So that's crazy.
The information we're getting is priceless. They make it real interesting. We don't have any sessions that go over 30-45 minutes. They break it up. They give us breaks. We have a rookie challenge where after someone speaks, everybody has to answer a question. The fastest to answer the question gets a prize and overall team, top three teams, will leave here with a great prize. We get to listen to established NFL players, Hall of Fame players, current and former players come tell us about their stories, their ups and their downs. We get to learn from their experiences. We really don't have any excuse if we are to go out and mess up and things like that.
[Visiting the Hall of Fame is something] I've been looking forward to. I heard about it while I was in college, but never thought I'd have the opportunity to go. A lot of people have been telling me it's going to be amazing, so I'm going to make sure my phone is charged and take a lot of pictures because that's going to be something to remember.
- David Bass, DE, Oakland Raiders
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