The Bengals first round draft pick, Cedric Ogbuehi may start off his rookie season on the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list, but he is taking in the NFL experience for all it's worth and learning from some of the great players who came before him.
This week, Ogbuehi attending the Rookie Symposium with the rest of this year's drafted rookies. The AFC players began the symposium on Sunday and finished up on Wednesday, while the NFC players began on Wednesday and will finish up on Saturday afternoon.
Ogbuehi seems to have a good head on his shoulders and is absorbing the lessons of fellow NFL players and veterans such as "how to manage your finances, making good choices, the consequences that come with those choices," he wrote on his new blog.
We heard a lot about the stress of balancing everything during your rookie year, which can be a long season. In college we played about 13 games, and in the NFL you have at least four more games than that. So you have to learn how to cope with it and keep playing at a high level. And now I know that if something happens that I need help with, I can talk to people at the team or a vet about it. There are people who can help you stay mentally focused.
These are important lessons to learn as a professional athlete, which many NFL players have learned the hard way. That's part of the purpose of the Rookie Symposium which teaches the NFL's newcomers about the traditions of the game and the social and professional responsibility that come with being a player in the NFL.
Ogbuehi added, "Cincinnati can expect to see a guy who is going to give it his all, compete and try to help this team win. I feel good. It’s a blessing to be in this situation, and I’m just taking it all in."
C.J. Uzomah also has started a blog and wrote his first post about the Rookie Symposium.
We’ve heard from players that were rookies last year and veterans who are sharing their own mistakes with us. Guys like Phillip Buchanon, Brandon Marshall and Donte Stallworth (his message was powerful) have been here.
Uzomah was quick to mention that the financial woes so many NFL and professional athletes experience are something he wants to avoid.
"Budget. That’s one message that has already stuck with me…how to spend our money wisely and not become one of those players that are broke after a couple years playing in the NFL. You can sit here and say that’s not going to happen to me, but one thing that the current and former players keep harping on is budgeting. You only get paid 17 weeks out of a 52-week year, so it’s something that can be hard to manage. I’ve decided that the first thing I’m planning to do when I get home is starting to set up a budget."
Sounds like a smart move and a great lesson to learn. In 2009, it was reported by Pablo Torre in Sports Illustrated that, "By the time [NFL players] have been retired for two years, 78% of former NFL players have gone bankrupt or are under financial stress because of joblessness or divorce."
That's a terrifying statistic and hopefully one that can shock players into learning how to budget their earnings. Learning about budgeting and finances is certainly a smart move for rookies and for the NFL to teach their developing talent. It's great to see Uzomah and Ogbuehi seem to have gotten the message and have benefited from the Rookie Symposium speakers.
Bengals great, Anthony Munoz was also a speaker at the event and conducted history sessions for the rookies at the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton.
Here's an image Ogbuehi posted from the Rookie Symposium with Munoz and second round pick Jake Fisher.
Fisher posted this photo of the Bengals and Bills rookies. The Bengals and Bills will see each other again this October in Buffalo.
Uzomah shared this shot featuring seven of the Bengals nine drafted rookies.
Marcus Hardison is teaching the youngsters right, calling out "Bengals" during a Play 60 event, which all Symposium attendees are taking part in.
Hardison also took a photo with his former Arizona State teammates, Jaelen Strong who was drafted in the third round by the Houston Texans and Jamil Douglas, who was drafted by the Dolphins in the fourth round. Hardison will be seeing Strong again in November on Monday Night Football, given both rookies make their respective teams.