Richmond, Va. - Every year at training camp, rookies get a nice, warm welcome to the NFL. They carry on a longtime tradition; shoulder pads. When the final horn blows to signify the end of practice, the veterans find their favorite rookie, and hand their pads off to them. What some may call hazing, others call just a humbling.
"It comes with the territory, so I don't have a problem with it." linebacker Su'a Cravens says. From skits, to buying sandwiches, rookie duties are only a short-term investment, so the veterans say. "I had to buy sanwiches, carry some pads here, but it's all a part of being a rookie. I had to make sure snacks were in the meeting room, it's part of it." says linebacker Ryan Kerrigan. The pro-bowler says the linebacker room has a nice snack spread currently. "It's awesome because you do that for one year, and you get to reap the benefits of it for the rest of your career."
The rookies aren't phased too much by what many see as daunting. "It's not any hazing type thing. I mean if I didn't feel like doing it, I wouldn't. I know it's a rookie thing, and I don't want to be that guy so I don't got a problem with taking the pads." says Cravens. Cornerback Kendall Fuller appreciates the mutual respect the veterans give the rookies. "The vets here, they treat you as men, they respect you as men, so you're definitely going to get your rookie treatment, but they're going to treat you as men as well."