Fourth and last in a series
- Part one: Shaking small-school stereotype
- Part two: Slide through draft disappoints
- Part three: Ready for new start with Titans
Wednesday, May 13, will be a day I remember forever. That was the day I signed my first NFL contract. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and it’s pretty unreal.
This past week has been a huge learning process. I got to Tennessee on May 10, and since then it’s been quite a hectic few days.
Rookie minicamp officially started last Friday, but before that, there were a bunch of us rookies here in Nashville going through some meetings, lifting and conditioning and doing work with our position coaches.
We’re all just hanging out and getting to know each other. I’ve gotten pretty close with my roommate, David Cobb, the running back from Minnesota, and Dorial Green-Beckham because we spend every day in meetings together.
Learning the Titans’ playbook has been the most challenging part of the rookie experience so far. It’s really a test of your capacity because you’re trying to learn the whole playbook in a really short amount of time.
It’s a brand new playbook that we haven’t seen before. I came from a pro-style offense, so it’s been a little easier for me than some other players who came from spread offenses in college. But it’s still hard because it’s so incredibly detailed, and each play has a specific purpose and everything has to be done in a specific way. With how detailed it is, and how much we have to study without sacrificing sleep so we’re still ready for the next day, it makes it hard to retain everything.
I get up every morning at 5:45 a.m., I give myself an hour to wake up and get ready before the shuttle takes us to the practice facility. Then we are in meetings and practice until about 5 p.m. We get back to our rooms, tired from practice, sit and recoup for a second, and by the time you get back to the playbook it’s about 7 p.m. and you have three hours before you have to head to bed.
Usually, I read over the plays for the next day, then, I just show the name of the play to myself and try to draw it up based on my memory. If I haven’t finished the full script for the next day’s practice before bed, I will cover the rest in the meeting we have in the morning before practice starts. I’m learning plays right until my feet are on the field ready for practice.
This week, we are basically lifting and doing some position drills and a couple more rookie meetings. The following Monday, we start OTAs.
Everyone is really professional, and they expect a lot of you. It’s definitely hit me that I’m in the NFL now. But I know I still haven’t made the final roster, and we’re still competing every day for a spot.
The end goal has always been a long, successful football career. All I can ask for is the opportunity.