CBSSports.com’s own Mike Freeman has confirmed the NFLPA won’t interfere with the NFL draft but that the trade association will hold an event late Saturday night for the rookies who have been selected.
Said one of Freeman’s sources: “We want players to have their moment.”
There had been talk that the NFLPA had asked – or would ask – incoming rookies not to attend the draft and shake commissioner Roger Goodell’s hand after he called their names. Another idea apparently was to have veterans from each team waiting in the wings so they could greet each new rookie as he walked on the stage.
Instead, it appears the NFLPA has backed away from those ideas and, instead, opted for activities for the new NFLers that won’t interfere with the actual draft. It’s probably a good idea – at least for the draftees’ sake.
Indeed, NFLLockout.com has posted the full schedule of rookie activities for draft weekend:
Thursday, April 28, 2011As an example, here’s what Alabama’s Julio Jones told WQXI in Atlanta today (via sportsradiointerviews.com) .
4:00 PM Private Reception
Friday, April 29, 2011
9:30 AM Public Appearances (Media, etc.)
11:00 AM Lunch with Corporate Sponsors
Afternoon Public Appearances (Media, etc)
Late Afternoon Afternoon Social Engagement
Saturday, April 30, 2011
Morning “Let Us Play” Fitness & Skills Clinic (Harlem, N.Y.)
Afternoon Player-Fan Connection/Engagement Activity – TBD
7:00 PM + 2011 NFLPA Rookie Debut & “One Team” Celebration
Players, draftees, sponsors, VIPs and family members invited
"Hopefully I will be there to shake the commissioner’s hand ... Yes, sir, I want an opportunity to go to New York and be able to experience that."
And it looks like Jones will -- it's entirely likely that he'll be one of the first folks selected in the NFL Draft, and thanks to the scheduling of the NFLPA's various events in the Big Apple, there shouldn't be any interference.
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