First I would like to start off by sending my condolences to onechocolateqt; I read in the responses that she just lost her mother. I remember meeting onechocolateqt at an autograph signing that I had in Cherry Creek and she was just wonderful. I think she was on her way to visit her mom at the time and as a friend I wanted to pass on my condolences first of all.
Also, in reading the responses I just wanted to thank everybody for the personal support that they gave me. It is really reassuring to know that my hard work gets recognized by the fans if nobody else. That is who we play for and it is the reason that we works so hard. So I do appreciate your support.
I did read the negative post and I must say it takes a big person to admit when they are wrong and it takes a brave person to say what he said initially on my blog. So I commend the man on both counts. But it is part of the job taking criticism, so it didn’t hurt my feelings nearly as much as the positive words he followed up with made me feel good. So I appreciate all the responses, the good and the bad. But definitely the good a little more.
I spent a lot of last week in Indianapolis representing the NFL Players Association in a bunch of meetings with the commissioner and league owners. We had a few meetings with the council that overlooks the agents and met with the rules committee to go over some of the fines, rules and regulations for the upcoming season — just getting a sense of what is going to be enforced more this season and things like that. I also participated in an advisory council meeting for my second year.
There were a lot of statistics at the meetings about the conduct of the players to see if progress has been made or if what we have tried to implement has been effective or not. We just evaluated all phases of the NFL and decided on future steps that need to be taken or if no steps need to be taken. We talk about a ton of things, from moving the Pro Bowl to off-the-field conduct amongst the players to player safety with the slight rash of home invasions that have been occurring. We just go over every possible effect of the NFL and talk about ways to make everything better which is one of the strengths of the NFL.
It is a great experience and with me being the youngest guy in all the meetings it is good to present a different perspective. I can say nothing but positive things about the NFL and the NFLPA to be willing to let someone like myself — a young player — come in and really respect my opinions. They don’t just have me sit in there; I speak and people take notes and respect what I say the same way they do with team owners and the commissioner of the league. That is one of the reasons the NFL is as strong as it is now. It is because the leadership of the NFLPA and the leadership of the NFL are open-minded and always looking to change things and they are open to listen to anyone. It was a really great experience.
On my flight home from Indianapolis, Tyrone Willingham the University of Washington football coach was sitting behind me. So I introduced myself to him. Well the flight was about to take off, so I sat down and buckled and followed all those pre-flight rules. It was a night flight and I got a little tired and wanted to put my seat back but I didn’t know if I should because Coach Willingham was sitting behind me. But I was tired and he is a man like everyone else so he deserves to be just as uncomfortable as the rest of us so I put the seat back. But it was great to have met him and if he reads the blog, sorry I had to take up some of your leg room; I was tired.
When I got back to Denver I was able to hang with the fellas a bunch. Myself, Champ (Bailey) Dre’ (Bly) and Rod — young Rod, Roderick Rogers, not old Rod — we hung out a bunch this weekend and got together which is cool. We are getting that camaraderie back and a lot of male bonding.
One of the times I went to meet them I ended up losing my wallet. It is just a credit to society or the citizens of Colorado, the gentleman who found it tracked me down and returned it. I was really impressed. He returned it with the $20 that was left in it and all of my cards and everything. It was really impressive so I gave him $100 for his hard work and the trouble that he saved me. It was amazing, things like that don’t happen every day. I guess I am just not as optimistic about all people, but it is great to have things such as this that renew your faith in mankind. When you watch the news, you see a different representation of man.
Anyway I say that because today I went to the Little Rock Nine luncheon at the Adam’s Mark Hotel. It was a luncheon to commemorate the nine black high-schoolers who integrated Little Rock Central High School in Arkansas and all of the discrimination and abuse they underwent as pioneers. I went there as a representative of the Broncos and it was an amazing experience that puts things in perspective. So on the heels of my own Good Samaritan experience with my wallet; I was able to return that experience. In the parking garage, I found a briefcase-type thing and no one was there to claim it. So now I am on my way to the office of the individual to drop it off. I guess I felt obligated to do it because someone was so nice to me. I guess we are paying it forward.
Anyway, free agency is getting started and it is a scary time for some people and exciting for others. It is a little of both right now for me. We will get more into that later. Talk to you soon.