With five full weeks left before the Pittsburgh Steelers report to Latrobe for the start of training camp, the team’s rookies will be busy the rest of this week taking part in the leagues new transition program,
This past April the league announced the Rookie Transition Program, which is a new rookie onboarding platform hosted by each of the league’s 32 teams, expanded to all NFL rookies – both drafted and undrafted – and designed to provide the resources for a successful transition to the NFL. The program was created to replace the league’s old centrally located Rookie Symposium that was open only to drafted rookies.
“Our goal is to onboard every NFL rookie with the best resources and practices for a successful playing experience both on and off the field,” said NFL Vice President of Player Engagement Charles Way. “By shifting the model to the clubs from a centrally located program exclusive to drafted rookies, we can reach all of our rookies, introduce them to resources in their community, and afford them the experience from active and former players at their club who successfully transitioned into the NFL.”
According the league’s April news release, the new format allows each organization the opportunity to customize their orientation program to align with the history and culture of their team, including the use of former players to foster and promote mentoring relationships between incoming rookies and club legends.
The release went on to say that the NFL Player Engagement staff will ensure uniformity in the orientation by approving the schedule for each team’s program, which will take place from June 20-22 for NFC rookies and June 22-24 for AFC rookies.
Mandatory topics in the new transition program will include social responsibility, respect at work, mental health, character and values, and player engagement resources. Teams will also need to cover other key topics either as part of the three-day program or prior to it, including player health and safety, a review of player policies and resources, working with the news media in the age of social media, financial education, and playing rule changes from college to the pros.
According to Steelers public relations director Burt Lauten, the dinner etiquette will also be part of the team’s inaugural rookie transition program. There has been no word yet as to which former Steelers will be brought in to speak to this year’s rookies.
Last year, the Steelers brought in Patricia Rossi, a business etiquette coach, to gave the team’s rookies a three-and-a-half hour lesson in manners in a private room at the Capital Grille.